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BLACKWOOD'S 



3glitn&ttirgit 

MAGAZINE. 

VOL. CXXX. 



CLfi- 



JULY— DECEMBER 1881. 




WILLIAM BLACKWOOD & SONS, EDINBUKGH ; 

AND 

37 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON. 



1881. 



All Rights of Translation and Republication reserved. 



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FranslattanA **/ AriicUs irt ihvf Mu*jiiti%nf u rt^^^"^ 



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THE STANDARD LIFE ASSURANCE COMPANY. 



ESTABLISHED 1825. 



RESULTS COMSIUNICATED IN THE LAST BEPOBT. 

Amount of Assurances accept(Ml during the yeai' 18S0 (2252 Policies), , £1,436,701 \ 
Amount of Assurances accepted during the List Five Years, . . . £ 6,193,1 86 

Claims paid during the last Five Years, £2,500,000 I 

Subsisting Assurances at 15th November 1880, £ 19,378,4 82 ] 

Revenue, upwards op Eight Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling per Annum. I 
Accumulated Funds, upwards op Five Millions and a Half Sterling. 



Edinburgh— 3 & 5 GEORGE STREET (Head Office). 

TnntJmi • i ®^ KiNQ WiLLiAM STREET, E.G., iSc I Dublin: 66 Upper Sackville Street. 
• \ 3 Pall Mall East, S.W. | Glasgoio: 155 West George Street. 

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Recommended by Professor Erasmus Wilson, F.R.S., 

In the * Journal of Cutaneous Meilicine,' as 

The most refreshing and agreeable of balms for the Skin." 



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MADAME ADELINA PATTI writes : 
/ haue found it matchless for the hands and complexion. 

ALL CHEMISTS AND PERFUMERS SELL IT. 



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143 5EW BOND ST., LOIfBON, and of Chemists, &c., everywhere. 



BLACKWOOD'S 
EDINBURGH MAGAZINE. 



No. DCCLXXXIX 



JULY 188L 



Vol. CXXX. 



CONTENTS. 

Besieged in the Transvaal. The Defence of Standerton, 1 

Rexikisobnces of Prison-Life, . .21 

The Land of Khbmi, — ..... 36 

Part II. — ^Thb Labyrinth and the Lakes. 

The Private Secretary. — Part TX., . . .53 

A French Lady and her Friends, . . . .70 

Kino Bbmba's Point. A West African Story, 91 

Recollections a la fourchette, . .106 

Tunis, ........ 128 

The Late Andrew Wilson, .141 



EDINBURGH: 
nUAM BLACKWOOD & SONS, 45 GEORGE STREET, 
And 37 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON. 



To whofn all Communications must be addressed. 



BLACKWOOD'S 
EDINBUEGH MAGAZINE. 



No. DCCLXXXIX. 



JULY 1881. 



Vol. CXXX. 



BESIEGED IN THE TRANSVAAL. 



THE DEFENCE OF STANDERTON. 



It was Sunday afternoon, the 
19th December 1880, and I was 
lounging in the verandah of my 
hotel in Pietermaritzburg, digesting 
the invariable Sunday early dinner 
of the colony, when a friend, pas- 
sing by, stopped, and asked me if 
I had heard the news. 

"Have not you heard it yetl" 
he asked ; *' why, the Boers have 
taken Heidelberg, Joubert is Com- 
mander-in-chief, and Paul Kruger 
President of the South African 
Bepublic, which they have pro- 
claimed." 

"Well, if it's true, that starts 
me," I thought, throwing away 
the stump of my cigar, and going 
off to the Club to hear the news 
confirmed. 

Some weeks before this, when 
the first symptoms of the Boer re- 
bellion began to be heard of, I had 
seen the General, Sir G. Colley, 
and placed my services at his dis- 
posal. 

" I don't want to go, sir," I had 
said; "of course, I dislike the 
Transvaal more than I can say ; 

VOL. CXXX. — NO. DCCLXXXIX. 



but if you think there is any neces- 
sity for my going, I am ready to 
start at an hour's notice." 

And indeed, before I was half- 
way to the Club, I found that 1 
had been taken at my word, — a 
short note from the Adjutant-Gen- 
eral, asking me if I was prepared 
to start by the mail-cart that left 
for Newcastle next Tuesday morn- 
ing, to take command of the town 
and garrison of Standerton on the 
Vaal river, some sixty miles within 
the Transvaal. Of course I was 
ready — soldiers always are ready 
for active service — and the next 
day had an interview with Sir 
George, when I received my in- 
structions. 

He was seated in his comfortable 
study in Government House, the 
roomy bay-window looking across 
the lawn to a group of semi-tropical 
trees; a water-colour picture of a 
skirmish in Ashantee over the fire- 
place ; a massive oak desk strewn 
with papers and well-bound books ; 
a cosy arm-chair beside it, in which 
he was sitting, and another for my- 

A 



Besieged in the Transvaal : 



[July 



self at its side. Continually the 
door would open for a message or 
telegram, — now brought by Mac- 
Gregor the military secretary, now 
by Elwes the aide-de-camp — both 
since gone with the rest. 

"You will find Standerton an 
excellent position for defence," the 
General said. " Just get into the 
laager there, strengthen it, take 
care they don't get at you unawares, 
and hold till I come. Troops are 
starting already; we have wired to 
India for more. By the 20 ch of 
next month I shall be there, or 
thereabouts, and we shall march 
together on Heidelberg. Don't 
attack; act on the defensive, and 
wait till I come. Get up some 
volunteers; set the heliograph in 
working order ; and look after the 
telegraph line." 

" Suppose they come at me, am 
I to fire?" I asked. 

" Yes : tell them to stop ; and if 
they don't, make them ! " 

Then we shook hands, and I left 
him : he to see others, and arrange 
further plans in that comfortable 
study; I to pack, wish good-bye, 
and bump up-country in a mail- 
cart, doubtful if I frhould ever get 
beyond Newcastle. Who would 
have said that we were never to 
meet again 1 who, if that were 
granted, would have ventured to 
say that, of the two, he was to be 
the one taken 9 

Travellers by mail-cart in South 
Africa carry but a small amount 
of baggage, — military men more 
than others, their allowance being 
40 lb. ; and my 40 lb. was soon 
made up. A saddle and bridle 
— absolute necessities in the coun- 
try — took half at once ; the moiety 
was a change of clothes, soap, tooth- 
brush, and towel, — the lot to last 
through a campaign that* promised 
to extend over several months at 
least. My sword I managed to 
smuggle in unperceived, with a 



blanket and rug to sleep under; 
and with every pocket full, I climb- 
ed into the front seat beside the 
driver, and behind six spanking 
ponies, gave one last parting wave 
to those left behind, and was off 
down the dusty street towards the 
big hill behind the town, beyond 
which lies that terra incofjnita 
" up-country." 

We were six, including the 
driver, a black man from the old 
colony ; a young lady held on 
somewhat tenderly by a tall, black- 
whiskered parson, who introduced 
himself as the chaplain to the new 
Bishop of Zululand; and a couple of 
storekeepers also bound up-country. 

How we did roll, and sway, and 
bump, and tumble ! " Bumps ! " 
cried the black driver ; and bumps 
it was, landing me as often as not 
on the foot-board, and the young 
lady, pleasantly enough, to judge 
by his face, on the parson's broad 
knees. Mail-cart travelling in Na- 
tal must be endured to be enjoyed ; 
and it must be a strange, strong 
man who can enjoy it even then. 

We passed strings of waggons 
hopelessly stuck in the deep mud ; 
straggling lines of soldiers march- 
ing on towards the front ; the two 
7-pounders afterwards heard of in 
such terrible straits in the battles 
that were to come, the fat black 
horses only too good a mark for 

Boer rifles, and Charlie P in 

command trotting cheerily by their 
side. At night we put up at the 
so-called hotels by the roadside, 
timing our journey so as to reach 
one by nightfall, and starting in 
the cold grey ef the following morn- 
ing. Wretched little drinking- 
shops were these hotels, where we 
ate things indescribable, and turned 
in between blankets, in clothes, 
boots and all, glad to put honest 
cloth between our bodies and the 
brown crust which age and previous 
travellers had kid upon the bed- 



1S81.] 



The Defence of Standerton. 



3 



clothes. A cap of coffee at five 
o'clock, the driver sloping in to 
bag another glass of schnapps; 
''All aboard'' from the same, and 
'* Bamps " again for the next dozen 
hoars. 

Thursday morning early — it was 
the 23i — we reached Newcastle, 
having been just 46 hours in doing 
180 miles, and we found on inquiry 
that the mail- cart on to Pretoria 
had ceased to run ; for the last two 
days it had not come in, being 
detained by the Boers. 

Here was what I had feared. I 
had still eighty miles before me, 
and the last telegram said that 
Standerton was expected hourly to 
be attacked. Let that once come 
off, and all hope of getting into the 
pkce was at an end. 

I could hardly ride it, even if I 
had horses fit for the journey ; and 
a soldier without his sword is half- 
way towards a civilian, while to 
carry one full -speed for eighty 
miles on a horse, means to let it 
go. At last I found a man who 
had a " spider," which he was will- 
ing to let out for the trip ; and as 
lack would have it — all through 
life I have always been a lucky 
fellow — ^the owner of the post- cart 
was in Newcastle, his horses still 
along the road, and he willing to 
run me through. In half an hour 
the " spider " was hired. Murray, 
the post-cart owner, had bought a 
new whip, and had gone out to 
drive in his first team ; while I was 
hard at work putting down break- 
fast, the last it might be for some 
time, and I consequently made a 
good one. 

I was still busy eating when 
Murray came in to say the road 
was infested with Boer patrols, 
who stopped every vehicle, and 
had already taken two officers 
prisoners ; the houses where we 
should change horses might be ex- 
pected to be full of the same, and 



it would be as well if I could dis- 
guise myself a trifle. An officer to 
a Boer was specially obnoxious : even 
if they let me pass, they would be 
sure to insult me, perhaps worse. 

Now I found how hard it is to 
put off the British officer at will. 
The moustache, the cropped hair, 
the cut of one's clothes, turn up as 
evidence against you. By regula- 
tion an officer may not shave his 
moustache, and this gave mine a 
respite, perhaps only too gladly; 
close-cropped hair won't grow in a 
day ; slop-clothes can be purchased, 
it is true, but there is an affection 
innate in every man's heart for his 
own raiment. There was, more- 
over, the sword, helmet, and re- 
volver, all indispensable. I bought 
a wide-brimmed slouch-hat of the 
kind much affected by the Dutch, 
took off collar and necktie, rubbed 
up my hair, forgot to wash my 
face, and called in on the manager 
of the bank to ask for a letter 
describing me as a young man sent 
up to the branch at Heidelberg 
to arrange business. This, after 
certain compunctions, he gave me, 
and I was ready to start. My 
sword was crammed under the seat; 
the helmet got in behind under 
the saddle ; revolvers — Murray 
had his as well as I had mine — 
were laid at our feet without an 
attempt to conceal them, both 
loaded, — it was no time for cere- 
mony; and so we started. 

Across the river, then swollen 
with the late rains, past Fort 
Amiel nestling on the hill beyond, 
and then up the face of the Dra- 
kensberg, mile after mile, always 
up and always steep. At the "out- 
spans," where the tin stables of the 
relays were kept, we found the 
Kaffir boys away, and the horses 
straying far abroad on the hills ; 
and it took both time and patience 
to fetch them in. 

So we drove up the now histori- 



Begged in the Transvaal : 



[July 



cal *' Slanting Heights ; '' across the 
Ingogo). past Savory and Bates's 
store, the Amajuba frowning on our 
left ; and at last, as dusk began to 
settle over it, climbed " The Nek." 
A few waggons, coming down with 
families "on the trek" from the 
threatening war in front, were all 
we met: the road was deserted, 
and we were glad to pull up at 
Walker's neat cottage at Cold- 
stream, and sit down to tea poured 
out by his pleasant-faced English 
wife, and have a romp with the 
children before starting. 

It was now 9 p.m., and very 
dark. The stream which is the 
boundary of the Transvaal ran at 
the bottom of the garden ; beyond 
lay a long fifteen miles of bog and 
morass, across which in daylight it 
took good pilotage to drive. Now 
it was pitchy dark, hardly a star in 
the sky ; and the croakers, as usual, 
prophesied the worst if we attempt- 
ed it. So we heard them out in 
silence, and then Murray asked me 
if I would try it. 

"Can you do it, Murray]" I 
asked. 

" Yes," was the answer, Murray 
not being very talkative. 

" Then we'll be off at once j " and 
by the light of a lantern, we got the 
ponies in, and "Walker showed us 
down to the " drift," and wished us 
a hearty good-bye — ** and look out 
for the road, for it's precious bad." 

And very bad it was, and very 
dark. I remember well on our left 
was the sky-line quite close to us. 
We were driving along the bottom 
of a small valley, and the clouds, 
which were thick and fleecy above 
this sky-line, looked like clumps 
of trees, spreading elms, just such 
as stand about in parks at home. 
Now and again we crossed this sky- 
line, and drove into, as it seemed, 
these trees, and I involuntarily felt 
myself putting up my arm to ward 
off the branches. 



Once ^lurray stopped dead after 
driving slowly for some time, and 
broke the dead silence — 

" We're off the road ; take the 
reins, and I'll look for it." 

So he got down, the " spider " 
following across slushy pits and 
boulders; roads everywhere in the 
ghastly light, and Murray just 
visible in front with his face to 
the ground. 

All at once — we had scouted 
about for a good half -hour — he 
came up, — 

" All right ; here's !Meek's fence." 
And I could make out a dim line 
of posts, with wire stretched be- 
tween, on our right. Then he 
climbed in and we drove on : and 
by-and-by a light shone out ahead, 
and the light showed something 
black beliind it; and turning to- 
wards it, we were in front of a 
long low building, known far and 
near as "Meek's store." 

An elderly man was Meek, well 
known on the roads which met here. 
He wanted us to come in ; but we 
had been warned against his house 
as a likely rendezvous for Boers, so 
we took the usual drain of " square- 
face," and set out again, with his 
parting words in our ears — 

" Take care how you drive — the 
road's mortal rutty ; they've been 
mending it just now, and the Boers 
have stopped them. You'll pass 
Van der Schyff's ten mile on ; you'd 
best keep close, he's bad against 
the British, and there's a lot of 
the same kind living with him." 

The road lay along a stony val- 
ley perhaps half a mile in width, 
with low hills on either side. Now 
and then at intervals were vieys, 
marshes knee-deep in water, and 
often overhead in treacherous 
mud ; and across these, drains had 
been cut to take the water off. 
Where the road crossed these 
vlei/8 the water was deep and 
still, shining ghastly white across 



1881.J 



The Defence of Standerton, 



it, warning ns away. So with a 
plunge and a snort the horses 
wheeled round, and we went up 
the hill on our right till the stream 
muBt have narrowed, when we 
turned, and took it with a dash, 
the light trap jerking across, down 
one hank and up the other, with a 
shock that sent me down where the 
revolvers lay more than once. 

"That's Yan der SchyflTs,'' said 
Murray, as we passed a dark thing 
OQ our left ; and he didn't crack his 
whip for a mile or more. The man 
had heen appointed general of the 
district by the Boers, and was put- 
ting up their patrols, which we 
know by day infested the roads. 

All this time night was wearing 
on, and Sand Spruit, the next stage, 
seemed never nearer. 

" I hope we'll find the horses at 
' Wool Wash,' " said Murray; "'if 
they have trekked, the hordes will 
be gone too, and it's another fifteen 
miles to Paade Kop where the next 
are: it will be a bit hard on the 
brutes.'' 

" Wool Wash " is the local name 
for an establishment for sheep- wash- 
ing which a couple of enterprising 
Englishmen had set up on the small 
river called Sand Spruit — a bad 
place at the best to cross, and one 
which, with tired horses, if the 
others did not turn up, would be 
almost impossible. 

Just at midnight we saw a small 
tin house, a tent, and an unfinished 
building peer out ahead. 

" That's * Wool Wash,' and there's 
a Hght, so they are not off yet," 
remarked Murray, breaking another 
long silence as we drove up and 
stopped, while a shirt- clad figure 
shading a candle in a flat candle- 
stick came out to greet us. 

"Who's that? Murray? OhiaU 
right j thought it was a Boer sent 
to ^commandeer' us. Get down. 
Who's that with youl" were the 
observations we met, and in less 



time than it takes to teU, we were 
sitting inside the little tent, with 
the * Wool Wash,' two big fellows 
in their shirts, evidently roused out 
of bed, sitting on it opposite, calling 
for coffee, and asking us the news. 

"Walker's not trekked yet? 
They're all off from hereabouts, and 
we start to-morrow : it's fighting, 
and no mistake. Van der Schyff 
has 200 at his farm. Didn't they 
stop you? There are lots they did. 
I don't think you'll got through, 
with ah officer too. Barrett's news 
is bad, isn't it ? " 

" No ! what is that?" we asked. 

" He's just come down from Mid- 
dleburg, and would have been here, 
only the patrol chased him back. 
Bad news too : the 94th cut up, 202 
killed and wounded, 48 prisoners. 
They left two waggons and ten men 
to bury the dead, and took all the 
rest. The colonel's shot and eight 
others, and one of the women. Bar- 
rett told them the Boers intended 
to attack, but the colonel didn't be- 
lieve it, and now they're all dead. 
Barrett's face was awful. I think he 
saw the whole thing. The Boers 
put up a white flag, and shot them 
down before they could shoot back." 

And this was how I heard of the 
massacre of my poor regiment. 

The tent was hot and stuffy, and 
I was glad to get out and walk 
about in the dark cool air, and try 
to think that it was not true. The 
friends of the last twenty years 
murdered, and I going on to meet, 
perhaps, the same fate. It was a 
bitter thought, and I paced up and 
down, and took the coffee they 
brought me, like a daft man, and 
walked again, and thought, and 
thought, and still only thought. 
It was one of those moments that 
can only come to a man once in his 
life, and I thank God that mine 
has come to me, and passed, and 
cannot come again. 

Above was the dull, cloudy night; 



6 



Besieged in the Tramvadl : 



[July 



close by the sullen river, just speak- 
ing over the rocks to tell me it was 
waiting for me presently ; across the 
veldt a group of natives jabbering, 
and trying to drive in our horses ; 
and at my elbow the " Wool Wash," 
kindly pressing me to drink more 
coffee, and stringing tales together 
of how the Boers were all about us. 
We got away at last, and dashed 
into the river, the water over the 
seat of the "spider," the opposite 
bank like a wall, and the horses, 
only two of them fresh ones, look- 
ing as if every moment they would 
topple backwards over us. But 
I seemed to care but little; my 
thoughts were all with that sad 
day, and the awful sight which met 
me everywhere in the darkness. 

At 4 A.M. we got down under a 
low flat-topped hill, Paade Kop, at 
the door of a small inn, and after 
much calling roused up the pro- 
prietor, also in his shirt, who asked 
us Id, and lit a candle, and pressed 
us to eat of the remains of supper 
still on the table — half a boiled 
fowl, some bread and lumps of but- 
ter, the dirty plates standing about, 
spilled salt, bread-crumbs, and slops 
of "square-face;" not a tempting 
meal, and one I neither ate nor 
wanted. One feeling only was pre- 
sent, to get on and be with my 
men before it was too late. 

Dawn was already breaking as 
we set out, never less welcome than 
on that morning; and dozing off by 
starts, waking with some queer 
dream across my brain, I watched 
the red glow creeping across the 
grey, and thought it never came so 
fast before. Then the long level 
road grew out, and we stretched 
our necks, looking out for any 
figure riding down it, and caught 
each other glancing at the revolvers 
at our feet, and felt about as un- 
comfortable as most men can feel. 

There was still a drive of good 
twenty miles before us, and there 



was no knowing but what Stander- 
ton had been attacked — it might 
have fallen. Every farm about held 
men who hated us, and the country 
was so open we could be seen for 
miles. 

Once a speck in front grew out 
of the horizon, and we watched it 
coming nearer, and at last saw that 
it was a man riding to meet us. 
We never took our eyes off him ; one 
was as bad as fifty — he could give 
the alarm, and we should never 
reach our journey's end; and it 
was unspeakable relief when he 
turned out to be only a native, and 
one of Murray's servants. 

However, we were fated to be in 
luck, and the little town came into 
sight, Stander's Kop on its left, a 
hill to be well known throughout 
the siege ; and I saw the tents 
standing up below it, and the men 
walking about between them as if 
no Boers were near; and then we 
dashed into the river, and half 
wading, half swimming, got across 
and into the town, and in another 
minute I was in the middle of old 
friends, shaking hands, and answer- 
ing their puzzled questions as to 
how I got through so safely. 

Everything was naturally in the 
wildest confusion. In the fore- 
ground stood a second "spider," on 
the point of starting for Heidelberg 
with the Bishop of Pretoria, who, 
nothing daunted by the certainty 
of capture, resolved to get through, 
trusting to his cloth to enable him 
to do so in safety. Near him was a 
stout man, dressed as an English- 
man, who by his well-shaved chin 
and ruddy cheeks might have been 
either English or Dutch. This was 
the Landdrost, the chief civil magis- 
trate of the town and district, and 
a man I had soon, as matters 
turned out, constant work with. 
Most prompt and willing I found 
him, indispensable in his accurate 
knowledge of the people, almost the 



1881.] 



The Defence of Standerton, 



one man with whom, through all 
the loDg thiee mouths to come^ 
I could sit down to a tete-a-tite 
certain that I should learn some- 
thing from his conversation. 

In the centre of the little town, 
which consisted of some fifty tin- 
roofed — some tin altogether — 
houses, was a substantial stone 
hailding, the court-house, Land- 
drost's oflfice, and jail. The win- 
dows had been pulled out, the doors 
unhung, and in their place bags 
piled up full of earth, small holes 
being left for the rifles. Bustling 
in and about this were numbers 
of soldiers in shirt-sleeves carrying 
in more bags, planks, barrels for 
water-supply, provisions, ammuni- 
tion, and other things necessary 
in a siege. A little further off 
was a second house, also in the 
same state, with more soldiers hurry- 
ing about ; and away again on the 
road towards Heidelberg was the 
hotel, now doing a limited busi- 
ness on its own account, while 
more soldiers were doing the same 
work by it as had been done to the 
other houses. Taking the Land- 
droet aside, I found that he had 
heard some indefinite rumours of 
the disaster to the 94th ; and these 
coming from Another source than 
that from which my information 
had come, I got him to show me 
into the telegraph office to tell the 
tale below. 

The telegraph office was in a 
room in the court-house, and I had 
first to squeeze myself between two 
piles of mealie-bags that closed the 
main entrance, then in through a 
room full of soldiers hammering, 
and 80 into the small office, its 
windows also blocked up, dimly 
lighted in consequence, its • floor 
scittered with debris, telegraph 
forms lying about under foot, the 
only sign of civilisation left being 
the tiny instrument on the table, 
clicking its news, and the clerk 



taking down the words as they un- 
wound themselves on the endless roll 
of paper coming from it. The wire 
had been cut daily, and it was all 
but hopeless to try to send a mes- 
sage, and I was lucky to find the 
line open. Later on in the day I 
went in again and received the 
answer to mine of the morning, 
the last I was destined to get, and 
one I was just too late to reply to, 
the line failing at that instant. 
Next day T sent down it, and found 
it cut in twenty places, the wire 
chopped into short lengths a yard 
long, the poles thrown down by 
threes and fours. 

The message with its news, the last 
we heard for ninety-two days, was : 
" Your action approved by General ; 
artillery will push on to Newcastle, 
but not a man is to proceed beyond 
that station without special orders 
from Headquarters." So we knew 
that a concentration of troops at 
the frontier town was in progress. 
The next message I received three 
months after the first, by hand from 
Newcastle, where it had lain ever 
since its arrival shortly after the 
despatch of the other, its cheering 
words unheard by us till the hand 
that wrote it lay with the rest under 
the turf of the Drakensberg. The 
message said — 

"Z>ec. 2Uh. — General highly ap- 
proves of your prompt action, and 
hopes you will give a good account of 
Boers if attacked. Send messenger 
to Boer camp to ask after wounded 
and offer services of a surgeon, and 
try to get them sent in to our lines." 
Cheering words to us poor be- 
leaguered ones they would have 
been, and breathing the well-loved 
spirit of him who sent them iu 
every line. Murray, who had 
driven me, was starting back. He 
was safe enough, well known on 
the road, and without a hated red- 
coat as a paseenger, was sure to get 
through. So I got into a small 



8 



Besieged in the Transvaal : 



[July 



back room ia the hotel and scrib- 
bled off a few hasty lines to the 
dear ones at home — the last they 
too would get throughout weary 
months of waiting. 

It was a thought that came up 
often enough during that time, that 
if we shut-up ones had the danger 
and the bullets for our share, those 
at home had far worse — the anxiety 
of dead silence about those they 
loved, the dread of what tidings 
the news might bring when it 
came ; and, as usual in the world, 
the stronger had the less to bear. 

The letter written, I drove up to 
the fort — a mile away, on rising 
ground to the south of the town 
— and found things quieter there. 
The fort — or laager, as it was then 
called — was a low earthwork with a 
ditch round it, at one part deep, 
for the rest only a mere scratch. 
Through the centre ran a thick 
wall, with a tin roof sloping on one 
side — the place forming an open 
shed, once a stable. E very where the 
earthen parapets had fallen down, 
leaving great breaches which ihad 
been partially filled in with mealie- 
bags of mould ; piles of stones fal- 
len from the walls lay about. In- 
side all was dirt and muddle. It 
had been used since construction 
as a commissariat store, and was 
littered with boxes, bags, tents, and 
all kinds of stores, in admirable 
confusion. Tents, pitched anyhow, 
tripped you up with their ropes; 
a troop of curs loafed about on the 
look-out for garbage; and a pony 
was picketed to a tent-peg, and 
munched away contentedly in a 
circle of filth, which showed that 
the spot had been his stable for 
some time past. 

These were matters which, as the 
siege went on, mended themselves. 
Horses could not pass the entrance 
if they had wished it — ^it was too 
narrow. Dogs were rigidly exclud- 
ed : a somewhat dilapidated old 
soldier, standing at the gate^ with 



such terrible orders against the 
whole canine race, that one day, 
on a sneaking cur getting past him, 
he was seen, capless and breathless, 
pursuing the brute through the fort, 
with whirling stick, and yells almost 
Eed Indian in their ferocity, till 
both he and the cur fell into the 
ditch outside, and had to be picked 
out carefully. 

The fort inspected, we did a bit 
of the old Zulu game, and " manned 
the laager," to show the men their 
places— a game in which our previ- 
ous experience, when marching on 
Ulundi, stood in good stead. Every 
man got round the walls as if by 
nature born to a loophole, and the 
array of glittering points sticking 
out gave our laager a most formid- 
able look when seen from an attack- 
ing point of view. One thing had 
struck me on arrival — that the town 
was practically open to any one who 
liked to come in and inspect our 
defences, — one avowed rebel hav- 
ing already been shown round the 
court-house, and a second driving 
up as near as he dared to the laager 
to look at a place which he was 
the first to fire at a few days later. 
To put an end to this inquisitive- 
ness, I established a strong party 
to stop every person arriving or 
going out, with orders to examine 
them, and, if necessary, to confine 
them, till I was communicated 
with; and I found the plan work 
admirably. One small man, some 
five feet in stature, a lawyer's agent, 
held in great esteem by the Boers 
as one of their best advocates, was 
among the first to be arrested when 
attempting to leave, being then and 
there put under a sentry. This 
same prisoner afterwards became 
one of my leading volunteers, and 
towards the end acted as the store- 
keeper when I seized all the pro- 
visions in the town and put the 
inhabitants on a reduced scale of 
rations. 

Now he was inclined to bluster ; 



1881.] 



77ie Defence of Standerion, 



9 



and after Eeveral attempts to get at 
me, he succeeded^ and asked me what 
I meant by arresting him. I assured 
him that I did not want to bother 
him more than I was obh'ged ; but 
just now all who were not for me 
were against me ; and I ended by 
advising him to keep quiet and not 
bother me; "for," I added, "I 
seem a very quiet man, but I 
can be very nasty if I like ; and if 
I find you bother me I might shoot 
you!" My manner was horribly 
cool ; but he saw that I meant it, 
and went off under escort to see 
his wifa A little later he returned 
and asked me if he took the oath of 
allegiance and joined the volunteers 
should he be free again. He was 
walked ofT to the Landdrost, who 
administered the oath on the spot, 
was drafted into the volunteers, and 
shouldered his rifle throughout the 
siege as well as any other man. He 
was, moreover, a fisherman, and 
often sent me some excellent fish — 
a treat indeed in a beleaguered 
town: so there are worse ways of 
getting round a man than by offer- 
ing to shoot him. 

After this I held a meeting of the 
inhabitants, when the Landdrost 
read the last telegram from Sir G. 
Colley, saying that relief would 
come on 20th January, up to 
which date he expected us to be 
able to hold out; and I made 
some mild speeches to the efiect 
that they must help to defend them- 
selves, calling on them to come for- 
ward as volunteers, foot or horse, 
letting them choose their own offi- 
cers^ arming and drilling them my- 
self And so was formed the nu- 
cleus of our volunteer corps, which 
numbered seventy -five men, and 
did excellent service, as will be 
seen hereafter. 

A committee to provide for the 
safety of the women and children 
was formed, of which I was presi- 
dent; and after some deliberation 
we picked out a large wool-store in 



the centre of the town, blocked up 
the windows with mealie-bags, and 
put all women and children into 
it of nights under care of the 
parson — an arrangement the fair 
creatures stuck to for a limited 
time, eventually leaving it for their 
houses, preferring to risk a stray 
bullet to encountering the horrors 
of its mixed population, amongst 
which might be counted as not the 
least numerous those insects from 
which it came to be known as " The 
Flea Laager." 

By this time it was growing 
dark, and we sat down to a wretch- 
ed dinner of bad beef and dry 
bread, washed down by a case 
of champagne given us by a con- 
siderate storekeeper for the occa- 
sion. The mess-room was a little 
stone cottage, very rough, much too 
small for our party, and extremely 
dirty. Two barrack-tables held the 
cracked plates and dishes we fed 
from; boxes for seats were more 
plentiful than chairs; our food 
came through a hole in the wall ; 
our wine-cellar was a second room 
opening from our first, its prin- 
cipal occupants a litter of nine 
puppies who sucked and snoied 
most vigorously ; our servants, 
soldiers somewhat exhilarated, for 
it was Christmas Eve ; our conver- 
sation, the expected attack and our 
means of meeting it. 

We had got half-way through 
the tough beef when a man ran 
in to say the Dutch were on us, 
and the men in the laager to resist 
them ; so we had to run up too, 
finding the tents struck and the 
men standing to their loopholes. 
But no sign of the Dutch came 
out. One rather credulous youth 
declared he heard revolvers going 
off in town, but they turned out 
to have been crackers let off by 
boys in honour of the day — it was 
Christmas Eve — and magnified by 
a slightly heated imagination into 
firearms. So we sloped back to 



10 



Besieged in the Transvaal: 



[July 



our dinner, the beef still standing 
in a pool of stagnant fat, once 
gravy, and were glad to wash down 
our first scare with the champagne, 
getting off to our tents soon after. 

And that was how we spent our 
Christmas Eve. 

Our garrison con«>isted of 350 
men — three companies 94th and 
one 58th Regiments. These, with 
the exception of a single company of 
the 9'1-th, had but just arrived under 
circumstances of considerable dif- 
ficulty, always in danger of an at- 
tack, when the disaster of Bronker's 
Spruit might have been repeated. 
The 94th were met at the border 
by a brother of Joubert's, an under- 
sized man with dirty nails, who 
delivered a letter to the officer in 
command, in which he was ordered 
to halt under peril of an attack. 
The 58th received a similar letter, 
amusing enough to copy here. It 
ran as follows : — 

"South African Republic, 
Heidelberg, December 20, 1880. 

** To the Commander-in-chief of 

her Majesty^ 8 troops on the 

road to Pretoria, 

" Sir, — We have the honour to in- 
form you that the Government of the 
South African Republic have taken up 
their residence at Heidelberg. 

" That a diplomatic commissioner 
has been sent by them with de- 
spatches to his Excellency Sir W. 
Owen Lanyon. 

** That until the arrival of his Ex- 
cellency's answer we do not know 
whether we are in a state of war or not. 

" That consequently we cannot al- 
low any movement of troops in our 
country from your side, and wish you 
to stop where you are. 

" We not being in war with her 
Majesty the Queen, nor with the peo- 
ple of England, who we are sure to be 
on our side if they were acquainted 
with the position, but only recovering 
the independence of our country, we 
do not wish to take to arms, and there- 
fore inform you that any movement 
of troops from your side will be taken 
by us as a declaration of war, the re- 
sponsibility whereof we put on your 



shoulders, as we will know what we will 
have to do. — We are, sir, your obedient 
servants, 

"P. Krugeh. 
H. Pretorius. 

P. J. JOUBERT. 

'*A BoK, 

Secretary to the South African 

Oovemment," 

^Neither of these orders was 
obeyed, the troops of course hur- 
rying on, and arriving safely at 
Standerton by a forced march. I 
had thus about 300 effective men, 
eleven of them officers, and a pop- 
ulation of 450 civilians, a large 
proportion blacks, besides women 
and children. 

Supplies were my first thought : 
cattle, fortunately, were plentiful, 
biscuit ample for present wants, 
and a good supply of lime-juice 
made me independent of vegetables. 
The town, too, appeared fairly 
stocked, although the Dutch had 
lately made a practice of taking away 
flour to a large extent. Gunpowder 
had entirely gone the same way, 
one storekeeper having sold six 
barrels within a few months, while 
another gave 1000 rounds of West- 
ley-Richards cartridges to a Boer, 
the leader of one of the attacks on 
Standerton, and avowedly disaf- 
fected, that being the quantity he 
was allowed to purchase each year, 
the Landdrost giving him the " per- 
mit " within a few days of the pro- 
clamation of the Republic — so well 
were matters managed by the Gov- 
ernment at Pretoria. 

In the morning I called the men 
together and told them the tale of 
the massacre of their regiment, in- 
terrupted by low remarks, muttered 
comments, and at the mention of 
the officers who had fallen, by still 
louder ones. When I came to the 
colonel's reported death, the whole 
broke out into a strange chorus of 
ejaculations, almost sobs from many, 
followed by a cry for revenge abso- 
lutely savage in its intensity. At 
the tale of the white flag, and the 



1881.] 



The Defence of Standerion, 



11 



treachery thai came close on its 
display, with my warning against 
its repetition, a whisper went round 
like wildfire ; the words I told them 
seemed like an order, and white 
flags jnst then would have fared 
badly at the hands of those stem- 
faced men round me clutching their 
rifles. Later on came an instance 
of the disrepute into which these 
flags had fallen. A party of scouts 
rode into camp with a herd of 
cattle aud goats which they had 
captured. '^They were in charge 
of a Dutchman and two natives/' 
raid the sergeant who hrought 
them in ; " and when he saw us he 
waved his flag, a white one, and 
we let drive at him ; and didn't he 
go off quickly ! though we didn't 
hit him, more's the p:ty." The 
Dutchman turned out to be a loy- 
al native who affected European 
clothes, and was the court inter- 
preter, and who came on under his 
white flig, nothing doubting, when 
h^ was greeted with a volley, and 
c'eared out faster than he came. 
And towards the close of the siege, 
when the white flag with news of 
the first armistice came down the 
opposite hill, the marksman on 
duty came to report it as usual, 
saluting and asking in the most 
matter-of-fact way, "Shall I take 
him now, air, or wait till he comes 
nearer f" It never entered his 
head that anything but a volley 
was the proper reception for the 
flag ; and as I went down the line 
of men behind the shelters towards 
the drift to which the flag was 
coming, I found every man with 
his sight up and his rifle pointed in 
eadiness to fire ; and they seemed 
think me a queer fellow to tell 
hem what these flags had done to 
OS, and then to stop them giving it 
Wk again. That day came on one 
)f the thunderstorms of the coun- 
try, bad enough in peace time; 
now, with the Boer scouts riding 
about outside, and all the buzz of 



preparation going on within, pecu- 
liarly awful. First increasing dark- 
ness till the tents were scarcely 
visible, and the men had to strike 
off work ; then a flash, and a roll 
of thunder coming nearer ; a second 
flash more blinding than before, 
followed at a shorter interval 
by a louder roll, the air still as 
death : we remained in great ex- 
pectancy, — no breath, no sound, 
except the crashes, culminating in 
one that shook one's very frame, 
and made us turn round involun- 
tarily to see which of us were hit. 
Close by two horses lay stone-dead, 
without a mark upon them ; a man 
near the tent we sat in, stretched 
out, fortunately only stunned ; and 
a corporal inside the tent beside 
him grinning, half in terror and a 
little bit in sheer amusement, with 
a big hole burnt in his coat-sleeve, 
still smoking. We were lucky to 
escape so easily. The strange thing 
in these storms is that they always 
wind up with one big crash. After 
that the thunder rolls and rumbles 
quietly away as if in a hurry to be 
off after doing the worst it can do. 

As we sat round our poor table 
that evening, getting through a re- 
petition of yesterday's dinner, we 
talked of home a bit and of the 
merry evenings that our friends 
were passing that Christmas night ; 
yet, as we came to know afterwards, 
they were not so merry in many 
homes, the telegram telling our sad 
news having arrived that same 
Christmas- day. Then we did not 
know that, and we munched our 
tough beef, and washed it down 
with the champagne left from yes- 
terday's present, and thought of 
them at home, and wished that we 
were with them. 

That night, at ten o'clock, I was 
roused by a mysterious man, who 
confided in a whisper that some of 
the townspeople had subscribed to 
buy some dynamite ; that it could 
be got at a store forty miles off; and 



13 



Besieged in the Transvaal : 



[July 



that he was wDling to ride and 
fetch it, his object being to pat it in 
a mine under one of the threatened 
houses. The mysterious one rode 
for it without success, the store- 
keeper not liking to sell it with 
the Boers all about; but he sent 
us word of the concentration at 
Laing's Nek — information I was 
able to send down to the General 
through the Free State ; so the 
dynamite turned up for a better 
use than was intended. 

The more tragical events of the 
siege began earlier than was ex- 
pected — indeed, before it was en- 
tirely declared. Our scouts had 
found three men stowed away in a 
house beyond the camp who could 
give no satisfactory account of 
themselves. Two of them, black 
men, were remanded for further 
inquiry ; the third, a half-caste, 
dressed as a European, said he was 
willing to join the volunteers — and 
something being known of his pre- 
vious history, he was forthwith 
taken on as a trooper. When ex- 
amined by the Landdrost, he gave 
some fairly useful information about 
the enemy, and altogether promised 
to be an acquisition. The one 
thing against him was his face — 
low -browed, sensual, with puffy 
cheeks, and a hang-dog expression 
really repulsive ; otherwise, he was 
inoffensive enough. That night he 
slept in an empty house in the 
town ; next morning his body was 
found in it, the skull driven in 
with a pickaxe, the throat tightly 
wound round with a strip of bul- 
lock's hide, the face shamefully 
lacerated, the murderers having 
dragged him through a window by 
which he had probably tried to 
escape. No clue could be found to 
the murderers; but four Makatees, 
natives of the lowest type, were 
arrested on suspicion, of whom 
more anon. 

The excitement in town, which 
had been on the increase ever since 



my arrival, appeared to culminate 
in this murder. People looked at 
each other, and whispered below 
the breath that the Dutch liad done 
it to punish the man for telling what 
he had told ; and neighbour looked 
at neighbour half in doubt that the 
other was not in the secret. Volun- 
teers came in but slowly — each one 
had pressing business that pre- 
vented him from joining. The 
Landdrost, his office barricaded, his 
clerk shouldering a rifle, and the 
townsfolk pestering him for infor- 
mation which he had not, was in 
despair. So I determined to take 
the matter into my own hands — at 
least I was strong enough to en- 
force authority, and one head, how- 
ever small, is better than none at 
all. Directing the Landdrost to 
convene a meeting of all the civil- 
ians, I got up as martial an appear- 
ance as possible, called one or two 
senior officers to back me up, and, 
walking up before the assemblage, 
proclaimed martial law. " In the 
name of her Most Gracious Majes- 
ty Queen Victoria, whose commis- 
sion I bear, and by virtue of the 
power intrusted to me by Sir G. 
Pomeroy CoUey, the Governor of 
this province, I proclaim the town 
and the district of Standerton to be 
under martial law. This, gentle- 
men," I continued, "gives me ab- 
solute power to enforce my orders, 
and I shall do so. K necessary, I 
shall imprison — if occasion requires 
it, I shall shoot — any one disobey- 
ing me." Here a rather unfortun- 
ate climax to my heroics ensued : 
one of the crowd, somewhat the 
worse for liquor, took a step to the 
front, clapped his hands togethe. 
feebly, as if to back me up, and sang 
out in a voice maudlin and shaky, 
** Bravo, major I I say bravo I 
Give it to them; and quite right too." 
However, they saw that I was in 
earnest, and before an hour was 
over, every able-bodied man had 
signed the roll of volunteers, and I 



1881.] 



The Defence of Standerton, 



13 



had the satisfaction of seeing the 
moody faces clear, and a more hope- 
ful spirit growing up. They felt, at 
least, they had some one to look up 
to in difficulties^ and during the 
three months martial law reigned 
in Standerton, only one case calling 
for exception^ rigour occurred. 

Hardly had the martial law ques- 
tion heen settled when one of in- 
ternational law cropped up in the 
person of a German explorer and 
traveUer, who sent me a note de- 
manding an interview. I found 
him in bed in the soda-water 
manufactory of the town, evidently 
very seedy — ^a fine-looking, intelli- 
gent man, but much disturbed in 
mind. He wished to proceed on 
his way ; he was laid up by tem- 
porary indisposition ; he had been 
obliged to leave his hotel by the 
troops who now held it ; he was a 
German, and as such he protested 
against such treatment — it was 
against international law, and he 
should lay it before the tribunal 
of nations. I said I hoped he 
would, and would summon me to 
attend, as that would take me out 
of the Transvaal ; but at present 
that was impossible, as the Dutch 
would not let us start from the 
town ; but if he would do a little 
doctoring for me among the troops 
in case of many being wounded, I 
should take it as a great favour, 
being rather short of medical men. 
So we talked it out, till in the end 
we parted the best of friends ; bow, 
I do not quite understand, for I do 
not think he took in more than 
half I said. However, the knotty 
point was aniicably settled, and he 
remained with me throughout the 
siege without another complaint; 
in fact, when he left on peace being 
proclaimed, he was most profuse in 
lus offers to take down messages or 
parcels to my friends. 

Every now and then a mounted 
man would gallop in with news of 
the Boer advance. ]^ow a meeting 



was being held three miles away, 
to discuss the attack ; now their 
vanguard was approaching, and 
would be on us before we knew it. 
Again, a couple of vedettes had 
been captured, and only escaped 
through the persuasions of an old 
man who knew them. A farmer 
who had come in from his farm, 
came up and whispered that his 
men were going to the Free State, 
and would take a letter for me. 
So the letter was written, and 
given with much secrecy to the 
farmer, who sewed it up in the 
boy's coat, to turn up, as I heard 
long after, all right ; as indeed the 
Boers heard too, and threatened 
my farmer's wife for having sent 
it. And that was the last we got 
through for nearly two months. 

And still came the messengers, 
speaking of the menaced attack — 
very trying, and only to be borne 
by reason of the amount of work on 
hand to meet it when it came. And 
done the work was, the men toiling 
with a will : no red coats now — 
shirt-sleeves and wideawakes, any 
costume; any time for meals ; filling 
bags with earth, piling them into 
their place; sappers cutting holes 
in the roofs of the defended houses, 
for the smoke to escape by if the 
firing grew hot ; «toring water and 
provisions ; banking up the breaches 
always falling through in our 
earthen pit; and between whiles 
more messengers with news of the 
attack. This waiting for it was 
far worse than all which followed. 

At luncheon, however, on the 
29 th December, a report came in that 
some hundreds of Boers had collect- 
ed in a valley three miles away, and 
showed signs of coming on. So I 
got out my mounted men, some 
twenty-five strong — they had only 
just been formed, and numbered 
twice that before long — and sent 
them out to reconnoitre. They 
looked a serviceable little knot of 
men as they crossed the "drift" 



14 



Besieged in the Transvaal i 



[Jul,- 



and rode along the road towards 
Newcastle, their centre led by a 
fine soldier, not many years before 
a sergeant - major in the 16th 
Lancers; ahead a couple riding 
slowly; on either flank "lookout" 
men, perhaps 400 yards away. 
The small party rode steadily along, 
keeping their distances as on par- 
ade, slanting up the sward towards 
the sky-line, nothing right or left 
of them, all open veldt for miles 
and miles, till they were mere dots 
against the green. In camp all 
was still; the men had finished 
their work, and were lying down ; 
of the officers a couple had ridden 
to the town, two more were a mile 
away picking peaches in a deserted 
garden, — when of a sudden — and 
my heart gave a great beat— out of 
a fold of ground that lay behind 
them, and on their left, grew out 
all at once a great cloud of horse- 
men, galloping, coming towards us 
as it seemed. Then they caught 
sight of the scout on the left, not 
far away, and changed their course 
a little, making for him, he gallop- 
ing for dear life, not towards the 
*' drift," where were friends and 
safety, but right ahead, slanting 
towards his right, waving his car- 
bine and shouting, — we could hear 
it faintly, — to warn them of their 
danger. Another minute and they 
heard him and turned, and with 
backs bent, and faces towards the 
" drift," galloped their hardest, just 
a race for life. It was touch and 
go. The Boera were nearer to the 
river, but their mass told against 
them, and our men gained a trifle, 
a few well mounted of the Dutch 
showing ahead, and threatening to 
cut them off. Then those puffs of 
smoke we got to know so well, and 
distant shots, and shouts growing 
more and more distinct — that awful 
race for life seemed to last for hours, 
when indeed it was all over with- 
in ten minutes, and I was almost 
powerless to help. 



We got our men into a hop- 
piSf the point nearest to the 
"drift" which they were making 
for, and cleared a space of half a 
mile round it with our rifles — once 
within that circle and they were 
safe. The Boers held back when 
they heard our bullets; and our 
fellows rode in, heads drooping, 
horses done up completely, and 
five of their number on the groand. 
Then, balked of the rest, the Boers 
jumped off and opened a long line 
of fire, replied to gallantly, the tall 
man leading them dismounting, 
and on his knee delivering fire, 
when the Boer firing at him flung 
back and shot no more. Two 
wounded men of ours lay by the 
" drift," holding their arms np for 
help and feebly crying to ns, and it 
was a weary time to wait ere we 
could cross and bring them in. 

The noble fellow who had gone 
to warn the troop lay dead beyond. 
For months we hoped that he bad 
been taken prisoner; but when the 
ground was cleared and we got out 
across that fatal field, we found a 
skeleton in a shallow grave on the 
hillside, a skull at one end, two 
stockinged feet protruding from the 
other ; a horse beside the grave 
shot through the head, and another 
facing it a hundred yards farther 
on ; and close to the turfs that cov- 
ered up the bones a coat, edged 
with red, faded now, the badge of 
our volunteers, and one we knew 
was his — all that was left of a 
brave soldier. 

We buried him in the church- 
yard among the rest lying in that 
poor spot, a fort frowning close 
above, and half a-dozen mounds to 
mark where others lay — his bones 
followed by every man, soldier or 
civilian, in the place — and fired our 
volleys over them, presenting arms, 
and sounding one last salute upon 
the bugles : as the townsfolk said 
when they came back,- " It was a 
splendid sight." 



1881.] 



The Defence of Standerton, 



15 



The BoerSy some 400 of tbem, 
missing the moaoted men, rode on 
towards us, and dismounting under 
a ridge across the river, about 700 
yards distant, opened a furious 
fire. How the bullets did whiz and 
fly! I had come back from the 
koppie, now no longer wanted, and 
stood on a little plateau facing the 
Dutch, with the fort in rear, from 
which the men, running to their 
places, began to fire. 

"Ping" came the bullets hurt- 
ling through the air, plugging the 
earth and sending up smiJl clouds 
of dost ; overhead whistling, sing- 
ing, as thej passed in their great 
harry ; the hillside opposite white 
with smoke, dotted with dark 
things — Dutchmen lying down. 
My bugler close behind me, waiting 
ia readiness to sound ; a bullet 
dropped into his boot quite at the 
toe — "Glad that wasn't you, sir," 
was all he coolly said. But it was 
hot, a little hot. Although there is 
something not unpleasant in a bul- 
let fired in anger, when the blood 
is up : they don't sound so viciously 
as at other timea But still it was 
too hot. 

So I got as many men as could 
be spared and led them at the 
Boers, creeping and running, tak- 
ing what cover there was. I re- 
member some of the men got in 
behind a tent now lying flat — a fold 
of linen to stop a bullet ; but then 
the British soldier is very credu- 
lous. And we crept down still 
nearer, and found a wall, part of 
the old cattle laager, and pointing 
over it, let the Dutch have it mer- 
rily. " Fire a bit higher, lads : 
you're underneath them ; can't you 
see them striking the bank?" — and 
they fired a bit higher, and we saw 
it caused some slight commotion, 
and one of our friends here and 
there pulled in his horse and 
mounted him, and galloped off; 
and then more followed, and here 
and there one gave a funny wave, 



both hands at once, lying down 
again quite flat, only he did not fire 
any more. Sometimes a horse lay 
kicking, and the Boers about him 
got farther back and did not come 
again, till one by one, by twos and 
threes, by big black lots, the cloud 
of them melted away, leaving only 
a dot here and there with its puff 
of smoke. But these died out at 
last, and looking at our watch we 
found that we had been listening 
to the bullets for an hour; it was 
just that time since they had 
missed our mounted men, and it 
had not seemed ten minutes. Time 
does fly so fast when occupied — 
pleasantly or otherwise. 

After the siege was over they 
told us they had intended to filler 
across the river and attack the town 
bodily; but finding our mounted 
men between them, they .had to 
ride for them — and so the town 
was saved, and we got very little 
damage. 

It was four o'clock in the after- 
noon, and every one turned up. 
The peach -gatherers, hearing the 
firing, left them and came in first ; 
the volunteers in hot haste ; a crowd 
of blacks, quite a hundred of them, 
crawling on their stomachs, and 
making a rush past the sentries 
into the fort, where they hid be- 
hind boxes, and were not to be got 
out by threats or entreaties tiU the 
firing was over. 

Thinking a fresh attempt was to 
follow, we got in some cold beef 
and a few bottles of beer, and ate 
a hasty dinner inside, the volunteers 
accepting an offer to finish the frag- 
ments most willingly, and doing so 
to the last crumb. 

But the Dutch contented them- 
selves with occupying a kopjne 
above us, across the river, and pelt- 
ing us with a few stray shots, while 
they established their patrols all 
round us like the leaden horses in 
the race-game of children. 

Night fell at last, and with it 



( 



16 



Besieged in the Transvaal : 



[July 



fresh anxiety. Half the men were 
put on the walls till midnight, the 
other half in relief till three in the 
early morning, when all turned out 
in readiness for our enemies — and 
that was kept up for eighty-eight 
days. An extract from the diary 
I kept during the siege will show 
better than anything how things 
went with us during the time. 
There was little to vary the entries 
from day to day, except that to- 
wards the end of February the fire 
from the Dutch became much more 
slack, owing either to want of am- 
munition, or to the discovery that 
it was only so much waste against 
such obstinate fellows. 

"/)ec. 304^. — At daybreak, parties 
observed on koppies across the river 
tracing and marking out something, 
apparently a fort. 7 A.M.— -Vedettes 
fired on by rebels crossing the ' drift * 
below the camp. A party of Boers 
occupied Stander's Kop, and another 
large body was reported advancing on 
the Heidelberg road. Brought in Vol- 
unteer Anderson wounded yesterday, 
and occupied the * drift' in strength. 
8 a.m. — 200 advancing against the town, 
but passed, and went behind koppie 
north of it. 10.30 a.m. — Sent patrol out 
south to find what force was holding 
ground in that direction — supported 
them with skirmishers ; returned, hav- 
ing seen nothing. 1 p.m. — Party 60 
strong advanced from koppie down 
donga, and opened fire, bullets foiling 
over laager ; we returned it with 'sharp- 
shooters,' and soon silenced it. 2 p.m. 
— Body 60 strong advancing on west of 
town, turned ofi" and passed to Standers 
Kop. Continual fire from stony kojypie 
and donga ; two mules shot ; returned 
fire with * sharpshooters,' and silenced 
it. 6 P.M. — Enemy opened fire from 
koppie south of Stander's Kop, the 
bullets striking huts and ricocheting 
over laager ; sent out some skirmishers 
and silenced it. One man hit in the 
face with splinter ; myself on the back 
of right thigh with nearly spent ball. 
Midnight. Volley fired into laager 
from south, answered by us and soon 
silenced ; three mules shot." 

And 80 on for the next three 



months. 'No wonder that we got 
tired of it, or that I had to punish 
the men at times for unduly expos- 
ing themselves to fire; in three 
months one gets wonderfully callous 
to a bullet. 

On the 4th January I made my 
first essay against an enemy in the 
open. There was a rocky hill, 
Stander's Kop, a little over a mile 
from the fort which the Dutch had 
occupied, and from which their fire 
began to be somewhat galling; so I 
resolved to have a turn at it, and 
show them two could play at that 
game. 

On the night before, I called for 
volunteers, and got together thirty, 
all to be ready at 3 a.h. next morning. 
It was my firot attempt in command 
against the enemy, and I confess 
that I felt a bit anxious; failure 
meant disaster, and I did not know 
but what my head might desert me 
at the critical moment It is easy 
enough to go out under orders, but 
to be yourself the head and tail 
means more than people think ; and 
I did think, but nothing would 
have turned me from my purpose 
now I had determined to attempt it. 

That night went slowly, and I 
slept but little; indeed at two 
o'clock, when a man came in to call 
me, four of us lay on hospital stretch- 
ers in an open shed in the fort. I 
was only too glad to find the time 
had come. 

It was a cold, damp morning, 
fairly dark, and my thirty volun- 
teers of last night were none too 
smart in turning out. It looked 
better business then than now, but 
I got them fallen in outside after 
some delay. Then I found every 
sergeant in the garrison had fallen in 
too, and at the last moment I had to 
send them back, keeping only two, 
— rather an unpleasant task. Then 
I explained to the men what I was 
about. W^e were to advance in 
column for a certain distance, when 
all would silently extend on a given 



1831.] 



Defence of Standerton. 



17 



aignal, and do the rest of the dis- 
tance in skirmishing order, gaining 
a wall whicli I intended to line, 
and wliich lay close under the hill. 
What followed would be dictated 
by circumstances. 

Meanwhile mj mounted men, 
now thirty strong, were to ascend 
the hill on its right, and, riding 
along the top, clear it of any lurking 
Boers under cover of my fire, when 
I could follow myself and occupy 
the hill In front of the wall we 
were bound for was a farmhouse, 
known to be the sleepiug-place of 
the Boer picket which held the 
heights; and we intended to surprise 
this party in the house, to prevent 
them giving the alarm to the main 
body. 

We set out across the soppy 
veldf, the grass often up to our 
knees. The noise our feet made was 
really astounding, causing me to 
break out at intervals at the men 
for insisting on marching in step. 
Poor fellows ! all their service they 
had been taught the old way to 
walk— "right, left, right, left"— 
and now they were told not to do 
it, and habit was too strong for 
them. It was now that I recog- 
nised the enormous difficulty in 
making a night attack : the plain 
we were crossing by daylight had 
seemed absolutely level, now it was 
fall of holes, drains, and pitfalls ; 
big stones caught us on the toes, 
and tripped us up with many a 
smothered cry, each loud enough 
to t^ll the enemy we were coming, 
so it seemed. -Every place looked 
changed, and but for Stander's Kop 
in houty whither we were bound, 
looming big and black against the 
sky, we should have wandered hope- 
lessly. 

Everything depended on our 
reaching the wall unperceived. 
There were patrols about, possibly 
sentries ; all was uuknown to us ; 
and the men's feet made such a 

VOL. ozxx. — ^NO. nCCLXZXIZ, 



noise, I was on tenter-hooks lest 
wo should be heard. One of them 
with a cough was sent back sharp 
to camp, looses were allowed to 
remain unattended to. When half- 
way, the time came to extend ; and, 
on raising my hand, the two bodies 
opened outwards, and formed into 
a line of skirmishers as neatly as if 
it were broad daylight and we were 
on parade at Aldershot. Whisper- 
ing a word of commaud to a line of 
men two hundred yards in length is 
not so easy; but the men did all 
they could, and passed it along till 
they moved on, keeping excellent 
distance and direction. Presently a 
black hill showed up in front quite 
unexpectedly, and I halted the line 
and went on to see what it was, 
for it had not been there yesterday. 
I had not gone fifty yajrds when 
the hill turned into a wall, the 
object of our march — a good high 
wall, capable of sheltering my men 
from any fire. So I went back and 
brought them up, letting them lie 
down just six feet apart. By peer- 
ing over I could distinguish the 
house in which the Boer guard 
was lying, about a hundred yards 
in front; behind it the hillside, 
steep and frowning. It was just 
half-past three; at four it would 
be getting light enough to attack 
the house. No sentries could be 
seen ; all was stiU as death. The 
men lay in the long, dank grass 
which fringed the wall, and hardly 
moved ; while I kept my bare head 
just above it to watch for any sign 
of the enemy. Every minute I ex- 
pected to see my mounted men on 
the top, barely another hundred 
yards beyond the house. This, 
again, was quite quiet ; two small 
windows on either side of the door, 
all closed with green shutters; a 
second building a little apart, and 
the garden between us and them, 
grey with oats; then the wall, 
strongly built with piled-up stones, 

B 



18 



Besieged in the Traruvaal : 



[Jdy 



and under it those loDg dark things, 
half hidden in the grass, beside each 
a rifle, shining cold and hard — all 
so very quiet, yet all low-breathing 
— ^pent-up life and action waiting 
my word to rise and line that wall 
with fire. 

However, that was not to be. 
We had waited an hour, and the 
night was going out, objects around 
growing distinct in shape, less 
ghostly than they had been, when 
there came a sound of galloping, 
the first sound since leaving camp ; 
a great rush of horses, out of sight, 
yet near enough to let us hear 
their hoofs stnking the ground. 
One minute and I thought it was 
the Boers, and felt I had them, 
The sound was on our right, and 
the way they had to come lay 
across my rear towards my left : 
if they only came that road, we 
should catch them beautifully. 
This was but for a few minutes. 
Then amid the galloping I heard 
a voice shouting in English, and 
I knew it was my own men in full 
retreat. 

And what from? If from the 
Boers, what was I to do? I did 
not like to go back at once after 
getting so near them, yet I could 
not afford to lose my men ; and for 
a bit I had an anxious time of it. 

About five minutes we waited in 
suspense. The galloping died out 
belund us ; no Boer picket showed 
up from the house; all was very 
still, when a single horseman rode 
cautiously into sight, coming to-' 
wards where we lay from the right. 
It was just light enough to see that 
he was in civilian clothes, wearing 
a broad-brimmed hat such as the 
Boers affect, and in his hand held 
a carbine ready. Was he friend or 
Boer? the advance - scout of the 
Dutch who had sent our men back ? 
He still rode on very cautiously, 
peering about, his carbine, as it 
seemed, always half-way to his 
shoulder, his horse piling his 



steps, his head bent forwards, look- 
ing out ; and the men on my right 
where the wall ended could see 
him too, and clutched their rifles, 
and only waited for a word. 

Still he rode on, inclining to- 
wards the house, and I could see 
now he was dark-faced, almost 
black ; a little more, and I recog- 
nised him as one of my own men 
with a rag of red round his hat; 
and I stood up and beckoned to 
him, and he rode down, holding up 
his carbine in token he was a friend. 
He little knew how near death he 
had been. He was sent to tell us 
that the mounted men had retreated 
before a large force of Dutch who 
were coming on behind the hill. 
There was nothing for it but to go 
too. My mounted men, just half 
my force, were in full retreat; close 
above me was the big hill, which, 
if once occupied, commanded my 
line of retreat for a full mile. All 
I knew was that a large force was 
coming on ; that might mean any- 
thing, and I had only thirty men. 
So I gave the word, and we turned 
back, leaving the wall we had won 
so well, and moved towards>the fort. 
We had gone about eighty yards, 
and opened the neck of land lying 
between the big hill we had faced 
and a second one lying on its left, 
when the Boers rode into it in a 
black crowd, perhaps two hundred 
yards away. 

I think we saw each other at the 
same moment; from which side 
came the first shots I am not ^ure. 
I faced my men half round and 
took up the fire as soon as I saw 
them, and the sudden sight of 
thirty rifles puffing in the grass 
checked them effectually. How 
those Dutchmen galloped ! — just a 
whiff of smoke here and there when 
one dismounted, fired, and was off 
again. How the rifles flashed out, 
bright and sharp, our own bullets 
racing past me as I stood directing 
them, answered by the thud of 



1881.] 



Defence of Sianderion. 



19 



those that sought ns out vpoif the 
turf! 

The Boers made for the second 
hfll, where was good cover in the 
kraals of the long-since- departed 
Makatees, ahont four hundred yards 
from us, and dismounting, opened 
a hot fire from hehind the stones. 
How their hnllets did tear the grass 
up, casting up little clouds of dust 
in the men's faces kneeling down 
to fire hack ! Kot a man winced ; 
tbey knelt and fired as cool as if at 
exercise, putting up their sights 
quite cheerily when I told them the 
distance. I had to shout to them 
to make them keep on retiring: 
they quite enjoyed the fun. 

This lasted ahout ten minutes, 
and then a line of fire on my right 
opened, and I felt that we had 
come within our own lines again. 
The 58th had orders to come out 
and protect my flank if it was at- 
tacked, and the brave fellows were 
there, lining the further slope be- 
tween us and the Dutch, and keep- 
ing down their fire. And this was 
furious for five minutes more, and 
formed a pretty sight for the towns- 
people roused out of bed by the 
incessant shots, and safe a mile or 
more away, as they told us after- 
wards. We were on a hillside 
above them, and they could see the 
little figures skirmishing, dotted 
with puffs of smoke, like dolls out 
playing; and beyond that again the 
hill, and the Dutch on it amid a 
bla» of fire and shrouding smoke. 

After a bit the Boer fire slack- 
ened as it had done before, and we 
got their range and turned them 
out; not easily, only by threes 
and fours, making gaps in their 
line from which no &*e came^ each 
widening till the hill was quiet 
once again, and in the distance 
a tiny -looking crowd galloping 
Away. A short half -hour, and 
we were safe in the fort, taking 
the cup of coffee waiting for us, 
and receiving the congratulations 



of the friends we left behind us 
at our safe return ; happier still to 
count our men and find that thirty 
went and the same came back again 
untouched. And that was our first 
turn in the open against the Dutch 
who were inyesting us. 

Up to this time our wounded 
men had been in a sort of hospital 
in the fort formed out of a tin store 
which had been pulled down to 
meet the military exigencies of the 
time, the roof remaining only ; but 
it was exposed to the fire of the 
rebels, and was hot and confined. 
So in place of it I took possession 
of the Dutch church in town, a 
spacious stone building, which, 
when the benches and reading-desk 
were removed, was capable of hold- 
ing two rows of beds, fifteen in 
each, with ease. 

The Dutch who still remained 
in the town tried to get up a small 
demonstration about the misappro- 
priation of their church by the 
root hafjeesy but after a bit 
calmed down at the sight of the 
sad faces that soon occupied it. 

The prayer and hymn books, all 
in Dutch, fared worse than the 
benches, as a couple of soldiers, 
seeing them in the deserted build- 
ing, calmly took them away, for 
what reason never appeared, the 
books being utterly unsaleable, and 
the British soldier not given to 
studying hymns, especially when 
written in a language of which he 
cannot understand one word. 

One of the difficulties of the 
siege was to check robberies by 
the men and volunteers ; and if 
ever temptation to steal existed, it 
was during the siege of Standerton. 
Many houses had been deserted by 
their owners, and left with doors 
and windows open, the families 
having set off full speed for the 
Free State on the commencement 
of the war. Later on, when fuel 
ran short, I had to go through these 
houses in search of wood, and was 



20 



Besieged in tlie, Transvaal, 



[July 



surprised to find how much furni- 
ture and effects were in them, and 
how little had heen touched under 
the circumstances. Eooms stood 
just as they had been left, — the 
chairs round the table, the clock 
on the mantelpiece, the beds un- 
made as the good people last slept 
in them, even the cooking- pots in 
the kitchen. Liquor of course had 
disappeared, as was natural, but 
little eke. 

A newspaper, 'The Standerton 
Times,' was started by some of the 
civilians, and lasted for the first 
month, when it fell through, partly 
from want of time on the part of 
the editor — who, as a volunteer, was 
wanted more than he expected on 
the defences — and mostly, I fancy, 
from the difficulty of finding new 
and interesting matter in a small 
community shut off from all com- 
munication with the outside world. 
Advertisements were its strong 
point — those breathing much fire 
and smoke predominating. So we 
read of the baker and confectioner 
who '' turned out the finest chain- 
shot pies ever supplied in Stander- 
ton. Artillerymen supplied gratis." 
The butcher being of a hopeful 
turn, tells his customers that "every- 
body can't have under -cut, as he 
has smelt out the column." While 
Spasmus and Co., well-known Boer 
malcontents fighting against us, an- 
nounce that ''they are selling off 
their entire stock of Dutch courage 
and Dutch pluck at greatly reduced 
prices, to make room for a large stock 
of English lead shortly expected." 

The local and general column 
was open to funny bits such as 
this, headed "A Long Shot:" 
"We hear that a gallant Swash- 
buckler potted a Boer lately at 
1416 yards. This shows that our 
mounted comrades have some capi- 
tal shots among them ; but we must 



remind .them that the deceased 
leaves a grandmother, a child, and 
fourteen small wives to mourn their 
loss. We suggest they start a sub- 
scription-list." While a Mr Pol- 
glase remarks that "as starvation 
is imminent he has. raised the price 
of * * * and bacon " — ^the stars 
standing for " three-star brandy," a 
common form of nourishment with 
thirsty colonists. < 

"Our paper" could be in earn- 
est also, the editor writing: "We 
opine that the curious would have 
to search well the pages of history 
to find a parallel for the state of 
feeling in Standerton during the 
present siege. A visitor dropping 
down in our midst would scarcely 
be able to realise the fact that the 
town is completely invested by a 
band of ruthless rebels. Civilians 
and military men, and women and 
children, appear, now that the grim 
reality of the position has come 
home to them, to have determined 
to be self-sacrificing and cheerful. 
When these troublous times are 
past, those who here with us have 
taken part in them will be able to 
look back with feelings of pride to 
the parts they have played in the 
drama. It was touching to note 
at our musical gathering how the 
pathos of the songs of home chime 
in with the sterner sounds of the 
war-strains ; and it is encouraging to 
note the cordiality existing between 
officers and men, between soldier 
and volunteer. Of the behaviour 
of the women we need say nothing. 
Courage, which is especially sup- 
posed to be the attribute of man, is 
found here, as at Lucknow, Paris, 
and Eichmond, to be blended in 
the women with that other noble 
quality, patience. We trust this 
state of feeling will continue, for it 
is calculated to stand us in good 
stead." 



(To he continued.) 



1881.] 



Reminiscences of Prison-Life, 



21 



REMINISCENCES OF PRISON -LIFE. 



In the days of our grandfathers 
the prison was built according to 
the wisdom of the local magnates 
of the district, guided by an archi- 
tect who was as ready to plan a 
house or a church as a place of 
detention and punishment. The 
triomphs of science and uniformity 
have, however, now reached this 
gloomy region of architectural skill. 
A group of ground-plans, on the 
last accepted model, would show us 
buildings radiating from centres, 
like so many great wheels. The 
officers in charge are armyed in the 
uniform of honour, the prisoners in 
the uniform of shame. Where the 
regulation is perfect, it is held that 
in every cell everything should 
occupy the same place, from the 
sleeping -bed or hammock to the 
towel and the piece of soap. It is 
said that this uniformity of con- 
ditions, great and small, not only 
neutralises the prisoner's plea of 
mistake in the commission of any 
petty irregularity, but at once puts 
the new officer at home when he is 
drafted from one prison to another. 
It may be noted, as of some histor- 
ical interest, that the same idea 
once prevailed in a nobler sphere. 
Uniformity was an avowed object 
in the Roman system of castrameta- 
tion, so that the soldier transferred 
from Spain or Italy to Britain, 
could find his proper place in the 
intrenched camp even if he reached 
it during night. 

Among the uniform features of 
the conventional prison of the day, 
is the circular airing- yard. This 
arrangement has had a moral in- 
fluence in exemplifying the mar- 
vellous power of discipline. The 
stranger is often seen visibly to 
start when a door opens, and he is 



led into a high-waUed yard, where 
a hundred ruffians are taking their 
exercise under the government of 
four or five officers. This exercise 
is taken by rapid walking round 
and round on circular pavements. 
The number trained at exercise on 
each of these stone circles corres- 
ponds with a circle of pegs. If any 
tendency towards association is 
noticed — if any are seen advancing 
towards those in front, or loitering 
so as to be joined by companions in 
the rear, there is a call of ** Halt I " 
and then each convict must stop 
at the peg immediately in front 
of him. 

This phenomenon, like many 
others peculiar to prison-life, ex* 
emplifies and illustrates one of the 
strange mysteries in the criminal 
character. Much of course is done 
by sheer force or terror to subdue 
the prisoner to the exigencies of 
his lot ; but much, too, is accom- 
plished by the facilities — the ami- 
able facilities they might be called 
— of the criminal nature. An 
officer in the service, addicted to 
cynical remarks, used to maintain 
that his birds y and others of the 
same iplass, were the only perfect 
human beings to be found in the 
world. In sobriety and the other 
cardinal virtues they were models. 
Regularity, method, tidiness, punc- 
tuality, and all the petty accom- 
plishments and restraints that go 
to make up the virtuous and worthy 
member of society, they practised 
to perfection. And there was one 
peculiarly charming attribute of 
their daily conduct in life, that one 
always found them at home when 
calling on them. 

There is something, however, 
deeper than such trifling peculiari- 



22 



Rsminiseeneea of PruonrLife. 



[July 



ties and the jests that may be pass- 
ed on them, in the ready acquies- 
cence of the criminal with inevitable 
conditions. This part of his nature 
includes a signal exemption from 
irritability or angry excitement, 
and a bland courtesy of obedience 
that has a strange similarity to a 
high tone of Christian resignation. 
So long as he remains free from 
prison bonds, he of course adopts 
every alternative for the protection 
of his freedom. He hides himself; 
he flees before his enemy the officer 
of justice; he knocks down his 
pursuer if that is apparently the 
sole alternative for the retention of 
his freedom. But once in prison 
bonds, all is changed in the direc- 
tion of gentle submission. It is 
like the occurrences so often ex- 
emplified in books of sensational 
religion, where the wicked, un- 
scrupulous, dissipated man, having 
experienced a "call," is at once 
converted into the meek forgiving 
saint. What makes the amiability 
of prison-life so perplexing a phe- 
nomenon is, that we know the evil 
passions to be in existence beneath 
the gentle exterior. The pheno- 
menon is not mere acting. It has 
a root much deeper. The passions 
of hatred and revenge are somehow 
for the time suspended, and Chris- 
tian amiability reigns in their stead. 
There are general conclusions known 
to all of us that point to the ab- 
scence of vindictiveness in the 
criminal nature. Judges, jurymen, 
prosecutors, and prison officers have 
all been their enemies in bringing 
them under conditions of suffering 
and grief. Tet it never crosses the 
thought of such official persons 
that society is filled with people of 
a degraded, unscrupulous nature, 
who have had occasion to be roused 
against them by a sense of injury. 
The litigant who is the suffering 
party in a civil suit submits of 



course to his fate with a grumble ; 
but his religious and moral training 
will at once assure him that he 
must not attribute evil motives to 
the hostile judga We may be 
assured that reasoning like this 
never pierces to the mind of the 
convict His patient acquiescence 
— ^his exemption from all hatred, 
malice, or uncharitableness to those 
who have been his persecutors, 
make a phenomenon not to be thus 
accounted for by the moral influ- 
ences that reign throughout the un- 
criminal part of the community. It 
seems to be a result following on a 
certain torpidity which we sball, 
ere much more is said, find to be a 
phenomenon of the criminal nature, 
and a phenomenon as yet In its 
sources unsolved. 

One peculiar, and it may be said 
interesting, form of this phenomenon 
in the criminal world, is the abject 
subjugation of the female to the 
male. To one happily unacquaint- 
ed with the inner life of the crim- 
inal world there will be a ready 
cause for this in the brutal and 
unscrupulous nature of the male 
offender, subduing and coercing to 
his will the weaker partner in wick- 
edness. But those who have bad 
opportunities for the accurate study 
of the dhminal nature will not be 
content with this solution. The 
phenomenon is, along with others 
in the same dreary region of hu- 
man experience, merely to be recog- 
nised as a distinct fact, supported 
by abundant and indubitable evi- 
dence, ^or can it be solved on 
the theory that a united career in 
crime will give opportunity for 
enhancing the power naturally ex- 
ercised by the stronger over th 
weaker nature. Sometimes, n 
doubt, it has occurred that th. 
corrupt wife has been the tutor c 
the husband in the ways of crime 
but there can be no question tha 



1881.] 



Reminiscences of Prison-Life, 



23 



sack an incident is rare in com- 
paiiBon with its converse, in the 
husband being the leader in the 
road to rain. A prison officer, 
who had arranged many inter- 
views between husband and wife, 
the one being a prisoner and the 
other free, was known to give 
this utterance of his experience in 
such affairs — that he had known 
many instances where the man had 
upbraided his wife as the cause of 
his career in wickedness, but had 
neyer known a single instance of 
the wife casting such a charge on 
her husband. 

The author of these casual and 
fagitive notices does not profess to 
be a philosopher with a perfect 
system of prison discipline in his 
brain, ready to be communicated to 
the world whenever the world de- 
sires to see it He will be satisfied 
if he affords a few morsels of 
amusement to the casual reader ; 
and in offering them, he does not 
desire to reveal the conditions 
under which his experience in 
prison discipline was obtained. It 
is, then, in a merely expositive and 
not a critical spirit that he says 
what he has to say. He means 
neither laudation nor blame in no- 
ticing that the conditions of inter- 
view with a criminal husband are 
hard on a virtuous wife. They are 
placed, as it were, in two cages 
where they can speak to but not 
touch each other. A warder sits 
in the space between them, and 
the poor woman has seldom the 
happiness of knowing how dead 
every word passing between them 
toudies his well-practised ear. One 
intellectual function he must exer- 
cise — a vigilant skill directed to- 
wards the defeating of any attempt 
at secret communication. What- 
ever be his skill in defeating, it may 
have to meet its match in a skill 
for trickery, educated up to an al- 



most miraculous point. The officer's 
skill is aided by general regula- 
tions, and one is, that no specific 
thing, however innocent, is to be 
transferred from the one to the 
other. Take an example of the 
necessity for this strictness. The 
woman, plunged in deep and son- 
orous grief, dandles an infant in 
her arms. Becoming excited, she 
swings the infant wildly about. It 
has an apple in its hand, and that 
apple, by a skilful sweep, the in- 
fant brings within the reach of its 
father, and it passes into his hand. 
The warder instantly seizes it, and 
finds that it is stuffed with a letter 
to the prisoner-father. It may be 
noted that people are much mis- 
taken when they adopt the notion 
that the visit from wife or daughter 
is always acceptable. That this 
idea is entertained is testified by 
the suspension of such visits being 
inflicted as a punishment for mis- 
conduct in prison. It is believed 
that criminals often misconduct 
themselves to gain an end in this 
form of punishment. On the other 
hand, if there be in the criminal 
any remnant of suseeptibility to 
gentle or virtuous impressions, the 
visit from mother, wife, or daughter 
is often the means of giving life 
to it 

There was a passing intention of 
conferring on these erratic glean- 
ings, the title '* Lights and Shadows 
of Prison-Life." It occurred, how- 
ever, as an admonitory objection, 
that the association of light with 
prison -life would appear, in its 
unexplained simplicity, something 
incongruous, and that it might be 
well to reserve it for a place where 
some explanation could be given of 
the nature of such lights. Their 
nature is embodied not so much in 
brightness as in serenity. Even 
this requires explanation, and here 
it comes. It may not be said that 



24 



Reminiaeencea of Prison-Life. 



[July 



to any one there is positive happi- 
ness in prison-life, but to the hab- 
itual criminal it is frequently the 
portion of his life that has least un- 
happiness in it — the unhappiness 
caused by terrors that seldom cease 
to haunt, and by occasional yisita- 
tions of starvation and other physi- 
cal forms of hardships. Long as 
they may for freedom, there is to 
this class an obvious serenity in 
prison-life. The terrible responsi- 
bilities that may follow on some 
mistake in the policy of a life full 
of schemes and dangerous projects, 
are unknown for a time. The de- 
teriorating influence of orgies de- 
structive to the vital powers is sus- 
pended. The food is simple and 
wholesome, and after a time the 
prison-bird feeds on it with satis- 
faction. The dinner is seized and 
devoured with so much avidity that 
the warder in charge of it feels that 
it would be personally dangerous to 
withdraw or delay it : there is a 
feeling in the class that a convict 
would commit murder to secure his 
dinner if it were in danger. It is 
true that there is a depressing influ- 
ence in long sentences, but this is 
counteracted by abundant and nour- 
ishing diet ; so that the accidental 
onlooker from the outer world is 
scandalised by the sight of the petty 
offender feeding on porridge, while 
the great criminal enjoys an ample 
meal of butcher-meat. 

There is something very solemn 
in a large convict-prison at mid- 
night. A faint sound of healthy 
slumber comes from the cells where 
the convicts sleep. Perhaps there 
are a thousand, perhaps only five 
hundred, undergoing punishment; 
but whatever may be the number, 
one is conscious that nowhere else 
save in a convict-prison could so 
many human beings sleep with so 
little to interrupt the sense of calm 
repose. In the same number of 



people taken from the ordinary 
world, there would be sligbt sounds 
arising from nightmare following 
on indigestion — ^perhaps from some 
reminiscence troubling the con- 
science on the question whether 
the strong steps taken for payment 
of that bill were not in the cir- 
cumstances slightly harsh, or some 
other disturbing recollection ; there 
might also be uneasy thoughts and 
dreams creative of restlessness. 
None of these troubles disturb the 
sleep of the habitual criminaL This 
is not because his conscience lies 
easy on him, but because he does 
not possess the article known to 
the rest of the world as a con- 
science. Hence he neither enjoys 
the satisfaction of its healthy and 
genial condition, nor the troubles 
attending on its inflictions, and it 
is with him essentially that the 
" Prayer for Indifference," by Gre- 
ville, as it may be found in the 
old 'Elegant Extracts,' is granted. 

"Oh haste to shed the sacred balm — 
My shattered nerves new string ; 

And for my guest serenely calm, 
The nymph Indifference bring. 

At her approach see hope, see fear. 

See expectation fly, 
And disappointment in the rear 

That blasts the promised joy. 

The tear which pity tanght to flow 

The eye shall then disown ; 
The heart that melts for others* woe 

Shall then scarce feel its own. 

The wounds which now each moment 
bleed. 

Each moment then shall close, 
And tranquil days shall still succeed 

To nights of calm repose." 

It is only to the hardened and 
habitual offender, however, that 
there is serenity in prison -life. 
To the man whose weak Apparatus 
of moral restraint has been insuffi- 
cient to overcome the temptations 
of gain, and who has been detected 



1881.] 



Reminiscences of Prison-Life. 



25 



in a forgery or some other fraud, 
the entrance at the prison- gate is 
an announcement to him in terrible 
and appalling reality of the warning 
of Dante, that all hope is left be- 
hind — that for him in this world it 
is dead and buried. And here we 
touch one of the points where there 
arises a sense of the extreme dif- 
ficulty of measuring punishment 
against the weight of crime, and 
are reminded that we are gener- 
ally driven to the alternative of 
inflicting not what is abstractly 
JQst, bnt what is most likely to 
protect the world from fraud and 
injury. 

Yet there are some considerations 
inclining to the alternative that the 
panishment of the man who has 
lapsed from virtue and respecta- 
bility should, if nominally light, 
he more heavily upon him than 
that of the habitual offender hard- 
ened to prison -life. Let us see 
how in the general case he comes 
to be what he is. Pedigree is re- 
puted to be an attribute of aristo- 
cratic position ; but if it is not the 
mere ordering of stars and garters, 
but the stamp of certain qualities 
on races of living beings, we must 
go to the races of the lower crimi- 
nals to find its fullest development. 
As intermediate between these two 
classes of pedigree, comes to the 
person familiar with prison popula- 
tions, the pedigree of crime ; and it 
may perhaps some day be seen that 
note is taken of the descendants of 
thieves, and of the qualities devel- 
oped by them, as we follow the 
descendants of the lower animals 
in «The Short-homed Book/ and 
other manuals of that kind of 
lore. 

There is no attempt here to de- 
velop acny philosophy of criminal 
descent by pedigree, but the fact 
of its existence is well known to 
everjr one whose lot it has been to 



come in contact with criminals. 
Beyond the bare fact, nothing seems 
as yet to be seen that would lead 
to a closer knowledge of the whole 
afifairas a psychological phenomenon. 
And indeed incidents have occurred 
suggesting that the hereditary taint 
may be latent in a race not notorious 
for crime. Even in those unex- 
pected instances already referred 
to, where a man has stepped out of 
respectability to inhabit a felon's 
prison, the curiosity of the inquir- 
ing world, excited by the strange- 
ness of the event, is gratified by 
the discovery of ancestral stains of 
criminality. There was recently 
an instance of a lapse into crime 
on the part of a gentle, kindly, 
inoffensive man whose immediate 
relations were clergymen, or mem- 
bers of the other decorous profes- 
sions; yet it was found that he 
had a grand-uncle who had been 
hanged. 

There was another curious little 
incident of coincidence in the case 
of this man connecting him with 
perhaps the best account to be 
found in print of the experiences 
of one who has lapsed from the re- 
spectable into the criminal classes : 
* Five Years' Penal Servitude. By 
One who has Endured It.' The 
author of this book begins by 
stating — 

" It matters little to the public 
what it was that brought me within 
the grip of my country's laws : suflSce 
it to say, after over twenty years of 
commercial life in more than one 
large English city, I found myself, in 
the year 186-, drawn into the meshes 
of a man who was too clever for me 
and for the law, and jvho, crossing the 
seas to a place of safety, left me to 
meet a charge to which, in his absence, 
I had really no defence." — P. 3. 

The persons who thus lapse from 
external respectability into crime 
have generally something like an 



26 



Reminiscences of Prtsoii-Life. 



[July 



apology to state, — the habitual 
criminal knows that to be useless. 
It happened that in the instance 
above referred to, the apology cor- 
responded precisely with that of 
the author of *Five Years' Penal 
Servitude.' It was hence inferred 
that he must have been the author 
of that book, but that was contra- 
dicted by the fact that he had not 
to pass through tlie prisons so well 
described by the author of the 
* Five Years.' 

There is something characteristic 
in the excuse or apology set forth 
by the five years' man in this, that 
it does not assert absolute inno- 
cence ; and this calls up to recollec- 
tion the conduct of habitual crim- 
inals in their intercourse with 
inspectors and other persons super- 
intending the administration of 
prison discipline. The ears of 
these officers are open to any 
complaints that may be made to 
them, but it is notorious that 
they rarely if ever are told by 
the convict that he is innocent of 
the crime for which he is under- 
going punishment. K a reason is 
given by him why sentence should 
not have been passed on him, it is 
founded on some legal technicality 
which his ingenuity has suggested 
to him. ^0 better reason can be 
given for this than the supposition 
in the criminal mind, that the 
official mind will listen to a story 
about a technical error, but not to 
an assertion of innocence. 

It has been noted that serenity 
and a sense of relief in a prison 
is more likely to be the lot of its 
habitual than of its casual inmates. 
But it may be, and in fact is, occa- 
sionally known to occur, that the 
person who has lapsed from a posi- 
tion among his neighbours, recog- 
nised as respectable, into punish- 
able crime, may also enjoy with the 
habitual criminal a sense of peace 



and gloomy repose when he takes 
his place in the cells for convicted 
prisoners. His life may have been 
for any number of years a succession 
of dexterous and narrow escapes 
from the grip of the criminal law. 
The most familiar to us among 
cases of this kind is in a succession 
of forged bills, each retired by the 
discounting of its successor. It has 
been whispered in certain of these 
instances that some of the knowing 
persons through whose hands the 
forged documents passed in the 
banks knew what they were, and 
kept silence. Money was circa- 
lated, and trade encouraged, while 
there was ever the comforting as- 
surance, '* Thou canst not say I did 
it." But, on the other hand, the 
supposition that such things may 
be is probably a calumny. All who, 
under any circumstances, spend 
their time within the walls of a 
prison, undergo a process of assim- 
ilation towards a scepticism as to 
the capacity of poor human nature 
for real goodness. 

Before losing sight of the heredi- 
tary character of crime, it is proper 
to say that it has been recognised, 
examined, and commented on, not 
only by ethical philosophers, but 
by men of practical understanding, 
holding high administrative offices. 
But all has been fruitless, so fiBur as 
definite practical conclusions go. 
Let us here, as in so many other 
human difficulties, hope to see a bet- 
ter day dawning on us as the result 
of earnest and candid inquiry. The 
following passage from a writer 
whose opportunities of acquiring 
knowledge on the point may be of 
interest, if merely from the haze 
of mystery that envelops all clear 
insight into causes and effects, ac- 
companied with the consciousness 
that there is mischief of a formid- 
able kind at work, for which a 
remedy is surely possible : — 



1881.] 



Reminiscencea of Prison-Life, 



27 



'^ Among dogs, we have a modifica- 
tion of structure and function made 
fixed and permanent, and more or less 
hereditary. Habits got by training 
are transmitted to the offspring of cer- 
tain breeds of dogs as their very na- 
ture. It is so in the wolf-dog and the 
hound. The pointer, ako, from original 
teaching, shows as the pup, while yet 
in the farmyard, a tendency to point 
at every fowl or bird it sees before it 
has ever been afield. The shepherd 
dogs — perhaps above all others — 
show inherent sagacity of an extraor- 
dinary kind from transmitted habits 
by training. It is the same in certain 
castes and races and communities of 
the human family ; and is the trans- 
mission of thieving and other criminal 
habits to form an exception to other 
analogies ? 

" One of the most remarkable exam- 
ples of a criminal family I know of is 
as follows : ' Three brothers had fam- 
ines amounting to fifteen members in 
all. Of these, fourteen were utterers 
of base coin. The fifteenth appeared 
to be exceptional, but was at length 
detected setting fire to his house after 
insuring it for four times its value.' 
The importance of checking, if possi- 
ble by legal restrictions, such criminal 
tendencies, is brought out in this case, 
when it is calculated that thousands of 
offences might have been prevented by 
these three brothers being permanently 
imprisoned before they became fathers 
of families, and thereby perpetuated 
crime by heritage." 

After some further general re- 
marks, the author, whose opinions 
are thus expressed, sets forth some 
statements of a more specific kind 
as to inmates of the prisons under 
bis own medical charge : — 

' ''At the same time, one hundred 
prisoners were known to be in the 
same prison out of fifty familiea Of 
one family eight were known — often 
two or three — at the same time. The 
father had been several tiipes under 



long sentences ; and since 1843 this 
family had been chiefly supported at 
the public expense in prisons. The 
relations I found in prison were : the 
father, two sons, three daughters, one 
daughter-in-law, and a sister-in-law. 
DoiiDtless other connections not dis- 
covered were there also. When these 
notes were taken there were in this 
prison three cousins (two being sisters), 
two aunts, and two uncles of the same 
family. Of two families, six were in 
prison about the same time — viz., four 
Drothers and two sisters. Of three 
families, there were three prisoners 
from each family, chiefly brothers and 
sisters ; also several mothers and their 
daughters at the same time. From 
four families, two brothers belonging 
to each family. From eight families 
a brother and a sister. From ten fam- 
ilies two sistei-s." ♦ 

This is a gloomy statement. 
Where are we to find materials 
for weighing against it hereditary 
groups of poets, artists, metaphysi- 
cians, and mathematicians) It is 
but a morsel gathered from an over- 
whelming mass of testimony, prov- 
ing that the human animal is most 
prolifically hereditary in the class 
of accomplishments that ought if 
possible to be extirpated. The 
facts stated by the writer just quot- 
ed are to be depended on, for he 
was an honest man and an inde- 
fatigable investigator. There is no 
doubt, too, a sort of truth in the 
sweeping conclusion that a deal of 
crime and mischief would have been 
obviated had the three fatal brothers 
referred to been committed to per- 
manent imprisonment before they 
became fathers of families. But 
how is such a feat as this imprison- 
ment to be accomplished in a coun- 
try like ours, where the law keeps 
jealous watch on the liberty of the 
subject, and will be reluctant to 



• The Hereditary Nature of Crime. By J. B. Thomson, F.R.C.S., Resident Sur- 
geon, General Prison for Scotland at Perth. Pp. 8, 9. 



28 



Reminiscences of Prison-Life, 



[July 



take it on the word of any man^ 
that some other man is sure to be 
the sire of a race of housebreakers 
and pickpockets ? A time was^ in- 
deed, when there seemed to be a 
pleasant prospect of such a practi- 
cal realisation of philosophical posi- 
tivism. The phrenologists would 
have done the world the service of 
identifying the proper objects of 
restraint by manipulation of the 
bumps of the skull. But the day 
and influence of these adepts has 
passed away, and the world is not 
even conscious of the calamity it 
has endured in the privation. 

The criminal classes are extremely 
dexterous in catching and appro- 
priating any popular cry likely to 
be of service to them. In recent 
years they have evidently been 
lending an attentive ear to the 
loud wailings of a portion of the 
community against the jovial habits 
of another portion. ** Drink did 
it all— that weary drinks" "If it 
hadn't been for the drink we never 
would have been here/' are assur- 
ances often repeated by the jail- 
bird. The doctrine is a consolatory 
one to them, as it in a manner 
brings in as the accomplices, and, 
indeed, in some respects as the 
instigators of their crimes, all who 
commit themselves as ** participa- 
tors" by the pot of porter or the 
pint of wine taken at dinner-time. 
If we take this in the sense of some 
jolly bout having been the cause 
that drove or tempted the partaker 
in it to the commission of some 
predatory crime, no alliance of 
cause and effect can be more pre- 
posterous. No group of human 
beings is likely to be more abso- 
lutely untouched by the influence 
of any intoxicant than the com- 
panions who have arranged a heavy 
** cracksman's" or housebreaker's 
job ; and the experienced hand 
who goes on a special pickpocket 



expedition near the door of a church 
or theatre will be as uncontamin- 
ated in his sobriety aa the adept 
who is striving after the solution 
of a difficulty in the higher ma- 
thematics. There is a belief that 
criminals are apt to indulge in a 
jolly fit after a good take. Such 
an incident has been told aa that 
a crew of housebreakers having 
found liquor with the other rewards 
of their skill and industry, have 
been prompted to partake too 
rashly of it on the 'premises, and 
in their excitement and exuber- 
ance to revel in excesses that have 
betrayed them to their capture. 
But drinking is not so markedly 
the vice of the habitual criminal 
as of some less offensive members 
of society. There seems to be 
something in the excitement of 
criminal work that is sufficient in 
itself and needs no aid. The expert 
pocket-picker is shy of anything 
that would tend to injure the 
nicety of his fingering. 

On the other hand, the partaker 
whose excesses have carried him 
so far beyond the bounds of self- 
control as to bring him into the 
class called '^ habitual dfunkards," 
sometimes comes within the walls 
of the prison under conditions ter- 
rible and tragical. He has com- 
mitted some great act of violence — 
generally the greatest of all — 
murder, and it often happens that 
the victim is some member of his 
own family whom he had been 
known in the days of his sanity to 
cherish and protect from all harm. 
The usual arrangement for dealing 
with such tragedies is to find the 
perpetrator to have been insane at 
the time of committing the act, and 
decreeing that he shall be put at 
the disposal of the sovereign. By 
this arrangement an addition is 
made to the class treated as *' crim- 
inal lunatics." Then comes a difli- 



1881.] 



Reminiscences of Prison-Life. 



29 



cnlty in dealing ^ith sncb cases 
vhen the man who has brought 
himself to lunacy by his eyil habits 
is restored to the condition of sanity 
by treatment in the prison or the 
hospital. There are causes exciting 
to furious and criminal lunacy other 
than excess ; but these, and the treat- 
ment of the poor creatures affected 
by them, belong to a science beyond 
the acquisition of those who merely 
deal with the criminal in possession 
of his senses. Perhaps the adepts 
in it know something in the nature 
of cause and effect as attending on 
the treatment they administer to 
its Yictims ; but the unlearned on- 
looker, however closely he may look, 
being under the same roof with the 
mysteriously afflicted, finds it a 
Tain task to endeayour to solve the 
mystery. One clear result, how- 
ever, is perceptible among the mys- 
teries and difficulties, and though it 
may go to the aid of those who are 
apt to be intolerant in their con- 
clusions and vociferous in support- 
ing them, they are entitled to 
possess it. The result points very 
clearly to the irreclaimability of the 
habitual drunkard. There has been 
for some time at work an arrange- 
ment, by which persons detained as 
criminal lunatics have been set at 
large, or rather removed from the 
prison or asylum, under conditions 
of supervision or espionage, so that 
they may be immediately restored 
to seclusion in case of an outbreak 
of the old insane malady. Among 
these the dipsomaniacs as a class 
were found less curable than the 
others, and of course more apt to 
find their way bask to the old re- 
treat. Tears of untainted absti- 
nence passed over some of them 
abiding in respectability and peace, 
when, as if by some caprice of des- 
tiny, the fatal primary drop was 
swaUowed and followed by a wild 
of orgies, proclaiming aloud 



that no time must be lost in rein- 
stating them in safety. 

A dialogue was once overheard 
between one of these " Queen's luna- 
tics," as they are often called, and a 
person in authority over the prison 
where he was in custody. He had 
been for years in possession of his 
senses, and they were the senses of 
a man who had received a good 
education to qualify manners nat- 
urally inoffensive and gentle. He 
represented the hardship, to a cul- 
tivated man like himself, of restric- 
tion to the society of the loathsome 
lunatics around him. It was pleaded 
in vindication : "Ah! but you know 
when you are at large you are apt to 
play such tricks. " The latest of these 
tricks that had occurred was, that he 
had been caught in Paris rushing 
along a street with a bloody knife in 
his hand. Eestraint brought him 
to composure, and it was thought a 
safe and judicious arrangement to 
send him to his grandmother, resid- 
ing in a quiet village. He was 
much attached to her, yet, never- 
theless, in one of his grim revels he 
cut her throat. After some years 
of treatment the arrangement for 
liberation under supervision was 
tried in his case ; but he tasted 
the fatal first drop, and had to be 
hustled back into close custody. 

At this point of his story it hap- 
pened to the writer of it to dip into 
a book called * Buried Alive; or. 
Ten Years of Penal Servitude in 
Siberia, by Fed or Dostoyeffsky, 
translated from the Eussian by 
Marie von Thilo.' The tone of the 
book he found utterly antagonistic 
to all experience of convict-life in 
Britain. For instance, " My First 
Impressions " : — 

"I distinctly remember being very 
much struck at first to find that my 
new life was, after all, not so very differ- 
ent from my old one. I seemed to 
have known all about it beforehand. 



30 



Reminiseenees of Prison-Life. 



[Jaly 



When on my way to Siberia I tried to 
guess what my ILfe would be like. It 
was not till I had spent some time in 
the convict-prison that 1 fully realised 
what an exceptional and unnatural ex- 
istence I was to lead henceforth, and I 
could never make up my mind to bear 
it patiently. My nrst impression on 
entering the pnson was a feeling of 
intense depression ; yet, strange to say, 
the life of a convict seemed to me less 
hard than I had pictured it upon the 
road. The convicts were in chains, 
but still they were free to go about in 
the prison, to smoke, to swear at each 
other, sing whatever son^s they liked ; 
a few even drank brandy, and some 
had regular card-parties every night. 
Neither did the work appear to me 
very difficult, and it was not till 
later on that I began to realise that it 
was rendered irksome and unbear- 
able through being imposed as a task 
which had to be finished by a certain 
time for fear of punishment Many a 

Eoor labourer wno is free works per- 
aps harder than a convict, and even 
spends sometimes a part of the night 
working out of doors — especially in 
the summer-time. But he works for 
himself only ; and this thought, and 
the knowleage that he will profit by 
his labour, is enough to reward him, 
while the convict is obliged to work 
at something which can never be of 
the slightest use to him."— Pp. 28, 
29. 

It 18 scarcely necessary to say 
that the portion of this sketch of 
prison-life, dealing with brandy and 
card-parties, has no parallel — or any- 
thing approaching to a parallel — 
in our British prisons. The other 
part of the picture, representing the 
distastefulness of labour bringing 
no gain to the labourer, admits of 
some explanations that may be 
found instructive as well as curious. 
Perhaps the reader has heard of 
the " mark system," yet if he has 
not come in personal intercourse 
with it, his impression of it may 
be vague and indistinct. When it 
was first suggested, it gained little 
respect from the old Lands, whether 



a mong prisoners or their keepers. 
Its fint announcement came in the 
midst of a crowd of ingenions sag- 
gestions, devised by distingoiah^ 
pandits in prison discipline, as infal- 
lible remedies for all the mischiefs 
of crime, and potent instruments for 
the regeneration of the human race. 
There was something, howeyery 
about this suggestion of marks thiifc 
recommended it to the practical 
mind ; and it gradually took a form 
capable of overcoming many of the 
difficulties in the way of bribing 
prisoners under punishment into 
the pursuit of industry. 

The first danger was that, giving 
the prison-bird certain beneJits for 
good conduct, the system could only 
be worked by the officers of the 
prison, and would be open to abuse 
from the difficulty of bringing home 
responsibility for fair-dealing to 
them. To meet this came a com* 
plicated system of records or diaries, 
where the conduct of the prisoner, 
being recorded from day to day, it 
would not be in the power of the 
officer, if he quarrelled with the 
prisoner, to alter the record to his 
prejudice; while, on the other hand, 
if the record were damaging, he 
would not have an opportunity, if, 
through bribery or otherwise, he 
desired to benefit the prisoner, to 
effect his purpose. Hence it came 
to be an understanding that marks 
were to be earned for industry 
solely. Thus they were payment 
for specific work, and the charac- 
ter and value of the work being in 
existence and produceable, its price 
became credited in marks. 

Still conduct called for considera- 
tion, and hence for specifi.c acts of 
misconduct marks came to be for- 
feited. Of course there might be a 
possibility of false evidence in the 
reasons for forfeiture, but the pro- 
cess would have the distinctness of 
any other punishment, as by a fine. 



1881.] 



Reminiscences of Prison-Life. 



31 



ftnd would not leave the same open- 
ings to the exercise of partiality or 
enmity in the prison officers, as the 
method, no douht simpler, of con- 
ferring the marks according to the 
character and conduct of the pris- 
onen as these wwe appreciated hy 
the officers. 

Dissipation and dirt within the 
walls of a prison are now in this 
eonntiy traditions of the far past, 
bat scantily finding any place in 
the memory of living men. It has 
been in some respect calamitous to 
a district to be forward in the race 
of improyement, since it may have 
happened that a prison has been 
erected for it, not eqnal to the 
demands of these declining years of 
the nineteenth century, yet too good 
to be sacrificed. Of the prison that, 
with a enrious baronial picturesque- 
ness crowns the Caltou Hill of Edin- 
burgh, this may be said. An acute 
recorder of the events of his time 
thus commemorates its coming into 
existence : — 

" The year 1808 saw the commence- 
ment of our new i ail on the Calton 
Hill. It was a piece of undoubted 
bad taste to give so glorious an emi- 
nence to a prison. It was one of our 
noblest sites, and would have been 
jriven by Pericles to one of his finest 
edifices." 

Fortunately the writer of this brief 
announcement was acquainted with 
the old building, celebrated by Scott 
in the great romance of the ' Heart 
of Mid-Lothian,' and has given this 
potent description of it : — 

"The completion of the new jail 
mplied the removal of the old one : 
ma accordingly, in a few years after 
his, the * Heart of Mid-Lothian' ceased 
^ heat. A most atrocious jail it was, 
he very breath of which almost struck 
own any stranger who entered its 



dismal door ; and as ill placed as pos- 
sible, without an inch of groimd be- 
yond its black and horrid walls. And 
these walls were very small ; the entire 
hole being filled with little dark cells ; 
heavy manacles the only security ; 
airless, waterless, drainless ; a living 
grave. One week of that dirty, fetid, 
cruel torture-house was a severer pun- 
ishment than a year of our worst 
modem prison — more dreadful in its 
sufferings — more certain in its corrup- 
tion ; overwhelming the innocent with 
a more tremendous sense of despair — 
provoking the guilty to more audacious 
defiance.*' ♦ 

The structural character of the 
more recent prisons, as well as the 
purifications in the whole system 
of arrangement, have done service 
to the officers in extinguishing one 
of the old traditional plagues of 
their existence in the dealing with 
gentlemen criminals. There may 
be little doubt that the man of 
education and social position, who 
has yielded himself to crime, may 
be fairly considered a more guilty 
mortal than the race of habitual 
criminals cursed with the nature 
that is found in them. But this 
will not prevent the exceptional 
inmate from grumbling at the sor- 
didness of conditions not so acutely 
felt by his neighbour the rough, 
and the official staff of a prison is 
not unlikely to sympathise with 
such grumblings. They may in 
these days, however, be substan- 
tially met. For that essential that 
is said to be next to godliness, 
there is perhaps scarce a gentle- 
man's house in the empire quite so 
cleanly kept as the large convict- 
prisons. The diet is with careful 
skill adapted to the ends of whole- 
someness and nutrition. The med- 
ical authorities are supreme in the 
enforcement of these qualities ; and 
it would be neither beneficial to 



* Cockbum's Memorials of his own Time. 



32 



Reminiitences of Prison-Life, 



[July 



the ends of justice nor to the 
prisoner's health and happiness 
that he should indulge in such 
luxurious superfluities as he may 
have addicted himself to in the 
days of his freedom. The stop- 
page of his wine is of course a 
serious element in his punishment, 
and so is the wearing of the con- 
vict uniform. But it is clean, like 
everything else ahout him; and 
the consideration of exempting him 
from any rules of prison discipline 
must be considered in its influence 
on his fellow-prisoners of humbler 
condition. 

Liberal efforta have been made 
in recent times to distribute clergy- 
men and lay teachers through our 
prisons. It is one of those works 
to which people bid God -speed 
without too closely criticising the 
extent of its efficiency. The toler- 
ant and pliant nature of the habit- 
ual criminal prompts him to mani- 
festations of acceptance apt to mis- 
lead the teacher — especially the 
religious teacher — as to the prac- 
tical extent of his services. It is, 
unfortunately, a notion familiar to 
all to whom prison life is familiar, 
that a fresh chaplain is delighted 
to find that the spiritual harvest to 
be reaped is now spread before him. 
He will not perhaps announce the 
blasting of his hopes \ but it is 
a common opinion among those ac- 
quainted with prison interiors, that 
there is perhaps no officer within 
the walls more thoroughly sceptical 
of any moral or religious good hav- 
ing been effected among the flock 
than the prison chaplain. The 
members of his congregation will 
remember the words uttered by 
him, and will perhaps repeat them 
to others in a manner not tend- 
ing to edification ; as where an emi- 
nent statesman questioning a pri- 
soner about to be released as to 
his intentions for the future, was 



answered, ''I am to sell all I have 
and give unto the poor." Still it 
would be a dreary conclusion to 
reach that no good results come 
from the costly efforts to plant 
teachers of religion among the in- 
mates of prisons, and it must at 
least be believed that it is good to 
bring them into contact with people 
of earnestly religious views and 
high culture. 

In the way of other methods of 
bringing such influences to operate 
on the criminal nature there are 
difficulties. A prison is a place 
where precision and order are the 
rule. All exciting novelties are a 
source of intense anxiety and great 
trouble to the discipline officers, 
whose services, even when they are 
supported and encouraged, are not 
of a kind to be cheerful or enjoy- 
able. Yet it would not be wise, or 
consistent with British notions of 
the sacred ness of personal liberty, 
that none but the officers of a prison 
should have access to it, and oppor- 
tunity of communication with its 
criminal inhabitants. Reference 
has been made to that instinct of 
the jail-bird that warns him against 
any attempt to plead innocence of 
the offence attributed to him, and 
induces him to found his complaint 
of the injustice done to him on 
some technical irregularity. But 
this weakness loses its restraint in 
the presence of the benevolent 
stranger, who is often perplexed 
and vexed by the heavy burden 
laid upon him in the distinct and 
fervent declaration of perfect in- 
nocence made by every inmate of a 
prison who has had an opportunity 
of appealing to him. 

Chaplains and teachers are, to 
a certain extent, a wholesome ele- 
ment of influence on the pedantries 
and conventionalities of the officers 
trained to monotonous daUy duties ; 
and other visitors are received un- 



1881.] 



Heminiscences of Prkon-IAfe. 



33 



der certain conditions in conform- 
ity with the eRtablished routine 
of discipline. If they generally 
conform with these, and consent 
to visit the establishment, not as 
a show, but as a sphere of useful 
labour, they do an eminent service 
to the pnbUc. 

There has been of late years a 
gradual but wholesome pressure 
against the practice of making any 
inmate of a prison a public show on 
account of the atrocity or some 
other exciting quality in the crime 
for which the imprisonment has 
been inflicted. The lore of fame 
is powerfully at work in the crim- 
inal mind; and it is not an en- 
tirely preposterous conclusion, on 
the part of people who have had 
opportunities for observation, that 
the homage of curiosity paid by 
the foolish public to the martyr 
undei^oing punishment for some 
flagrant crime has been an element 
of temptation to others to attempt 
the accomplishment of the like. A 
certain ^^^ of rank, in fact, in 
the criminal world, is conceded to 
the perpetrators of crimes of a high 
and startling character. Yidocq, 
the illustrious French policeman, 
gives more distinction to this pecu- 
liarity than it is perhaps entitled 
to claim with us ; and among the 
inmates of a prison he gives a lively 
account of the miseries of a poor 
creature, whose crime was limited 
to the theft of certain cabbages, 
under the sneers of a high-class 
convict, whose plunderings had 
been among diamonds and other 
precious articles. It seemed, how- 
ever, to persons experienced in 
rison-work, an unexpected novelty 
hen a body of men, under sen- 
nces of penal servitude, com- 
lained of the humiliation of oc- 
lyying the same premises with 
p ty offenders sentenced to short 
riods of imprisonment. They 

VOL. CXXX. — NO. DCCLXXXIX. 



claimed for themselves, as the 
"Secretary of State's convicts," 
something like a position of ex- 
clusive dignity. 

Convicts are signally susceptible 
to those emotions that are some- 
times spoken of as the amiable 
defects of human nature. A pro- 
minent place among these is vanity. 
Personal vanity is naturally more 
conspicuous among the women than 
on the male side. Some of them 
will appropriate and adorn them- 
selves with any strip of ribbon, silk, 
or even tinfoil, that may happen to 
be found ; and there is an unaccount- 
able oddity in the exercise of the 
passion, since it must be done in 
secret, and especially since it is pre- 
cluded from attracting the attention 
of any male admirer. 

The susceptibility of the criminal 
to the influence of vanity some- 
times takes a troublesome shape in 
efforts to deceive or mystify his 
custodiers. The steady persever- 
ance and long endurance of misery 
often expended in the gratification 
of this passion, is one of the stand- 
ing marvels of prison-life. "Mal- 
ingering," or feigning sickness, is 
the most ordinary form taken by 
the passion, and, with the other 
vanities, it prevails on the female 
side. Instances could be recalled 
of women keeping themselves bed- 
ridden for years to this end. In 
one instance the poor patient was 
enabled, by a peculiar muscular 
power, to create the external symp- 
toms of a dangerous structural 
disease. A surgeon celebrated 
for successful operations on such 
maladies was called in. His first act 
was to administer chloroform, and 
this deprived the malingerer of the 
physical capacity to create the 
phenomenon. This woman was an 
instance of the elements of profuse 
health and strength, often the gift 
of criminals. After having lain 



34 



Reminiscences of Prison-Life, 



[July 



for several years an abject wasted 
wretch, when restored to the dis- 
cipline and hard work of the 
healthy, she gained weight and 
coloar, and all the elements of an 
excellent constitution. 

In another instance* the coavict 
betrayed herself by an imprudent 
exercise of the vbtue of cleanliness. 
Criminals, while in their own hands, 
are generally dirty in their habits ; 
and the personal cleanliness enforced 
under good prison discipline is one 
of its most effective hardships. In 
this instance, however, there was 
the innate love of cleanness peculiar 
to the respectable Englishwoman. 
The keeping of this woman's cell 
in order had to be performed by 
some one of her comrades in afflic- 
tion. It was observed, however, 
that it was always in a more per- 
fectly clean condition in the morn- 
ing, before the assistant had access 
to it, than at any other time. It 
seemed like the result of visits 
from the " drudging goblin," whose 
capacity was tested — 

**"When in one night ere glimpse of 

morn, 
His shadowy flail had thrashed the 

corn." 

But the source of the phenomenon 
in the eyes of the attendants was 
simple and obvious. The convict 
had risen in the night to the work, 
and given a precedent for setting 
her to work at regulation hours. 
An instance occurred when a clever 
officer suggested the pitting of per- 
sonal vanity against the vanity of 
mystification. The convict was 
paralysed. She was proof against 
all attempts to surprise her out of 
her malingering by physical means, 
but she could not resist the temp- 
tation of a pair of new shoes, and 
presented her feet promptly to be 
invested with them. V 

The question of the possible 



reformation of the habitual crim- 
inal has evidently given much un- 
easy concern to those who have 
undertaken it We are told that 
in Ireland the feat has been accom- 
plished, and the assertion is sup- 
ported by a crowd of insta^yces 
where fiends have been converted 
into angels of light; but Ireland 
is always producing some pheno- 
menon flagrantly contradictory to 
our experience in other parts of 
the empire. An official man con- 
nected with the administration of 
justice elsewhere having visited 
Ireland for the purpose of practi- 
cally examining the whole matter, 
brought back some curious items 
of information. He had had the 
good fortune to enjoy the hospi- 
tality of an ardent admirer of the 
system — so ardent that he had 
selected all his servants from jail- 
birds ; and his table was served by 
ticket-of-leavemen. The presiding 
female genius of the house gave 
practical confirmation to the success 
of the scheme, saying, that since she 
had been served by ex-convicts she 
had nevet thought it necessary to 
lock up her plate and jewels. In 
people who find their way to condu- 
-sions of this kind there must be a 
store of sunny happiness much to 
be envied by people less fortunate. 
How much they must enjoy, for in- 
stance, of all that is denied to persons 
like a sceptical old prison officerwho, 
in the course of some practical dis- 
cussions on the Irish convict mil- 
lennium, remarked that '' there are 
no thieves in Ireland because there 
is nothing there to steal"! But 
there is a partial meaning in the 
abrupt conclusion. It is not by 
the wealth of the inmates of palaces 
and caatles that the thief is sup- 
ported, but by the abundant sums 
of money and articles of value dis- 
tributed in other parts of ^ the 
empire among multitudes inoivid- 



1881.] 



Reminiscences of Prison-Life. 



35 



uallj possessed of modeiate means. 
The coQveiiience and value of this 
stock-in-trade gives the English 
thief a piejudice against Scotland, 
where the ready cash of the farmer 
or shopkeeper is despiteful! y de- 
posited in a bank, or, if retained, 
is kept in the form of traceable 
bank-notes, instead of the stocking 
full of gold pieces so welcome in 
England. 

As appropriate to the exemption 
of Irelmd from the depredations of 
the accomplished thief, it may be 
noted that few natives of Ireland 
£nd their way into the prisons on 
this side of the water. On the 
other hand, names indicating un- 
doubted Irish descent abound in 
them, so as sometimes to distin- 
guish nearly half the population 
within the walls of some of the 
larger prisons. Hence it is to be 
inferred that Milesian descent does 
not exclude its possessor from the 
acquisition of the furtive propen- 
sities of his neighbour living in 
the richer country. The native 
Irishman is, of course, distinguish- 
able from him who, born elsewhere. 



has inherited the Irish name from 
his grandfather, by the brogue, or 
other peculiarity of speech. It may 
be desirable that we should have 
closer information on such points 
as these, and on many others con- 
nected with the pedigree of crimi- 
nals. Earnest attempts have been 
made to collect and arrange statis- 
tics embodying the pedigree, the 
place of birth, and the places they 
have frequented since birth, of 
all persons who come under the 
lash of the criminal law. But there 
is a fatal obstacle at the outset of 
such inquiries. Criminals — thieves 
especially — are found to be people 
of a modest and retiiing disposition. 
As to their past career, however 
they may luxuriate in conceit and 
vanity, they exhibit reticence to 
those having charge of them for the 
time. To any questions about the 
past their instinct ever is to give 
a lying answer. The only thing 
one can feel assured of, therefore, 
in the statistics so collected is, 
that the truth in each instance 
lies somewhere else than in their 
record. 



36 



TJie Land of Khemu 



[July 



THE LAND OF KHEMI. 



PART II. — THE LABYRINTH AND THE LAKES. 



The most striking object which 
meets the eye from the summit of 
the highest mound of ruin of the 
ancient city of Arsinoe, is the Pyra- 
mid of Howara, distant about five 
miles as the crow flies from the 
modem town of Medinet el Fay- 
oum, but considerably farther by 
the road, — if the narrow paths 
which traverse the fields can be 
called roads, — for the country is so 
intersected by canals^ that one is 
frequently obliged, in riding, to 
make long detours in search of a 
bridge. As our capacity for endur- 
ing fatigue was somewhat limited, 
we determined, under these circum- 
stances, to make the expedition in 
a boat — a mode of locomotion not 
usually employed in the Fayoum. 
There are, indeed, only about four- 
teen miles of navigable river, the 
sluices at lUahoon barring all far- 
ther progress eastwards, and the 
subdivision of the Bahr Youssef 
at Medinet into numerous minor 
canals blocking it by dams and 
water-wheels in all directions. I 
held converse with the head of the 
boating fraternity on the feasibility 
of my project, and found that ten 
heavy barges and two small boats 
composed the entire carrying ca- 
pacity of the river. The barges 
are used for conveying manure to 
the fields adjoining the canal, and 
bringing their produce to the town. 
I inspected the small boats, and 
having selected the one which was 
least old and leaky, had her cleaned, 
and an awning put up in the stern. 
I am thus particular in describing 
the boating resources of the canal, 
because I was misled by the glow- 



ing description of Monsieur Lenoir,* 
in an account which he gives of a 
hurried visit to the Fayoum, and its 
chief town, of the general accuracy 
of which his description of its com- 
merce may serve as an illustration : 

"Boats and immense barges," he 
says, "are moored as far as the eye 
can reach along its brick quays, which 
come hither to obtain grain and straw, 
the produce of the last har\'e8t. Num- 
berless caravans compete with this 
navigation transport, and serve to con- 
nect Medinet with Cairo." 

Out of the twelve boats and 
barges which exist, I never saw 
more than two fastened to the river- 
bank at one time. " The brick quays 
along which they are moored as far 
the eye can reach," exist entirely 
in the writer's imagination ; and it 
is evident, as the canal is only 
navigable for about fourteen miles 
in an exactly opposite direction to 
that of Cairo, which is about seventy 
miles distant, that the ^'numberless 
caravans " have not much reason to 
fear competition. It is true that in 
former years, during the inundation, 
boats came up from the Nile by the 
£1 Magnoun canal to lUahoon, 
where produce was transferred from 
the barges from Medinet ; but this 
route has long been discontinued, 
and there is now no connection 
between Illahoon and Cairo, ex- 
cepting by following the tortuous 
course of the Bahr Youssef up to 
Siout, which would involve a circuit 
of nearly 500 miles. As a matter 
of fact, the produce of the Fayoum 
goes to Cairo neither by camel nor 
boat, but by railway. Sails are not 
used by this magnificent fleet of 



* Le Fayoum, Sinai, et Petra, par Paul Lenoir. 



1881.] 



Pari II, — The Labyrinth and the Lakes. 



37 



boats and barges, and masts are 
only erected for towing purposes. 

It was on a warm lovely morn- 
ing in February that we spread 
ourselres on the carpet at the stem 
of the boat, and, towed by two 
sturdy feUdJiirij made our way 
against the current at the rate of 
about three miles an hour. As 
there is no regular towing-path, 
our progress is constantly imped- 
ed by overhanging trees, by pro- 
jecting sakki/aSy by the walls of 
mud - villages, which occasionally 
rise straight out of the water; and 
our trackers are sometimes wading 
waist-deep, sometimes running far 
into the ' bean - fields to turn the 
comers of creeks — sometimes one 
side becomes impossible, and we 
have to take them on board and 
transfer them to the opposite bank ; 
but in spite of all this, they push 
along with so much energy that 
we pass rapidly one or two old 
barges laden to the water's edge 
with manure -dust, but which are 
an extremely picturesque feature 
in the landscape — though, in so far 
as age and shape are concerned, 
they might advantageously figure 
in a museum of Egyptian anti- 
quities. The banks are just too 
high to prevent our seeing much 
of the country over them, but they 
furnish us with glimpses of peasant 
life as we glide past the little mud- 
villages on their margin, where the 
women are engaged in their per- 
petual occupation of washing and 
filling their water -jat^, or, squat- 
ted opposite the dead wall of a 
house, are jerking to and fro a 
goat-skin bag containing milk, with 
a view in this primitive fashion 
of converting it into butter, and 
where half-naked men are stand- 
ing in rows opposite each other as 
if they were going to dance Sir 
Roger de Coverley, when suddenly 
they fall to with ponderous flails, 
and thrash out the corn, accom- 



panying their blows with a mea- 
sured and not unmusical chant. 
Buffaloes, blindfolded in order that 
they may be spared a conscious- 
ness of the monotonous nature of 
their occupation, as they tramp 
slowly round in a circle, are grind- 
ing it> after it has been thrashed, 
in creaking mills, above which 
flocks of pigeons flutter round their 
quaint conical towers. Water is 
being dipped out of the canal by 
men in pairs working the double- 
lever shadoofs^ who laboriously 
swing up and down the long 
bars weighted with mud at one 
end and with a basket - work 
bucket at the other. Kaked chil^ 
dren of the tenderest years are 
paddling in the mud, or scream- 
ing with a virulence and pertina- 
city peculiar to the Arab infant. 
Amid these sights and sounds 
we glide gently through the rich 
country; and when we land, it is 
to look over an interminable ex- 
panse of wheat, beans, lentils, and 
clover, with here and there dark 
groves of date-trees clustered round 
villages on distant mounds. The 
whole country is lulled into a 
luxury of repose, which the low- 
ing of cattle, the wail of the water- 
wheels, and the hum of distant 
voices seem rather to enhance 
than to disturb ; and our noiseless 
mode of travel is in keeping with 
the universal calm. In fact there 
is a sort of Sunday feeling in the 
very air of Egypt, which the sleepy 
agricultural operations of the peas- 
antry are too placid to destroy. 
After we had proceeded thus for 
about an hour and a half, we landed 
to inspect a massive embankment 
which had been erected by the 
ancients, but had been renewed in 
more modern times to prevent the 
Eahr Youssef in seasons of inunda- 
tion from bursting into the broad 
ravine of the Bahr - bela - ma, or 
"river without water" — most ap- 



38 



The Land of KhemL 



[July 



propriatelj bo called, for it was a 
wide dry toady about a hundred 
yards across, with precipitous 
banks thirty feet high — which 
cuts through the whole length of 
the Fayoum, winding away by the 
ragged bed the floods have cut for 
it in the course of the overflows 
of ages to the north-west, till it 
reaches the village of Tamiyeh, 
where it is dammed up into a small 
lake or reservoir, which discharges 
its superfluous waters into the Bir- 
ket el Kuriln. In ancient times it 
is probable that this ravine, as well 
as another as gigantic, the Bahr 
Nazlet, which runs to the south- 
west, was used to carry off the 
waters of Lake Mceris. These two 
ioadfes, with villages perched on 
the cliffs which form their banks, 
form a striking feature in the 
scenery of the Fayoum. 

So long as the Bahr Youssef re- 
mains in the valley of the Nile, 
skirting the base of the Libyan 
hills, it inundates the country like 
its parent stream ; but when it has 
passed the sluices of Illahoon and 
entered the Fayoum, it is brought 
under control, and only allowed 
to flow into the numerous loadies 
which are dry at other seasons. 
Sometimes, however, it bursts its 
restraining banks, and rushes into 
a new channel, scooping out the 
mud and forming the bed of a 
broad river. This had been the 
case with the Bahr-bela-ma, though 
at what date the embankment had 
been last renewed the boatmen 
were unable to tell me. At all 
events, its invasion upon that oc- 
casion involved a dike of great 
length and solidity, and must have 
been a work of great expense. 

Soon after this the current be- 
came swifter, and the dolce far 
niente we had ei^'oyed to such per- 
fection was rudely interrupted; 
a sakkya projecting into the river 
where it was unusually narrow. 



forced it into quite a little rapid, the 
tow-rope got entangled with the 
water-wheel, and the mast gave way 
and came down with the run, break- 
ing the rotten thwarts of the boat 
as she broached to the current, 
which swept us down sideways 
till we stuck on a friendly bank. 
There was an immense amount of 
shouting and wading before we 
repaired damages and got under 
way again, but the Bahr Youssef 
had become a lively stream, and 
our "progress was slow : we were, in 
fact, ascending to the level of the 
highest plateau of the Fayoum, 
and before long we came to a worse 
rapid than the last, where our men, 
unwarned by the previous disaster, 
allowed the same thing to happen 
to us. Fortunately we were not 
far from the village of Howara, 
the sheikh of which had been 
notified of our arrival the day 
before ; and he appeared just at 
this juncture, accompanied by a 
large proportion of the male popula- 
tion of the village, and the donkeys 
upon which we were to ride to the 
Pyramid. We therefore determined 
to leave the boat to find its way up 
the next rapid without us, till it 
reached the spot nearest the Pyra- 
mid, where we intended to re- 
embark, while we started off along 
the banks on donkey-back. We 
now soon began to observe evidences 
of antiquity; and these were of 
especial interest when we reached 
the ten-arched bridge of Kanatir 
el Agami. This spans a dry culti- 
vated wady, in which is a grove of 
date-trees ; but in ancient times it 
was the main channel by which the 
waters of the Bahr Youssef were 
conducted into Lake Moeris. Th< 
ancient buttresses of the bridg< 
rest on foundations of massive 
stone ; and the embankment whict 
now prevents the river from flow- 
ing into its old channel is very 
solid, and bears the marks of ex 



1881.] 



Part If. — The Lahyrinih and the Lakes* 



39 



tieme age. We rode along it until 
we reached the Katasanta struc- 
tare^ which consists of a terrace of 
six carefnlly-jointed steps of large 
aod well-hewn blocks, but bears no 
inscription whatever: it no doubt 
• formed part of the artificial limits 
of Lake Moeris. Then we crossed 
the Bahr Wardani, a deep stream 
flowing out of the Bahr Youssef, 
also an ancient channel of the 
river, into the lake, and called by 
the Arabs the Bahr es Sherki, or 
" River of the East." We turned 
sharply after crossing it, and fol- 
lowed its left bank ; then travers- 
ing a hot little bit of desert, we 
reached our destination, after a 
journey of three hours and a half 
from Medinet. The first view of 
the Lahyrinih was eminently dis- 
appointing, and consisted of noth- 
ing bat mounds of ruins. How- 
ever, in the midst of these we came 
upon the traces of what probably 
was once a temple of some magnifi- 
cence, though all that now remains 
of it are some large blocks of granite 
and limestone, and the shaft and 
capital of a papyrus column with 
traces of sculpture. Some blocks 
here have been disinterred, which are 
now covered with sand, bearing the 
name of Amenemhat IIL Travers- 
ing this waste of ruin, we reached 
the base of the Pyramid of Howara, 
and found a cool spot in its shade 
in which to lunch, prior to a more 
minnte examination of the sur- 
rounding objects. We began al- 
ready to feel, however, that our 
imaginations had been unduly ex- 
cited by the descriptions of the 
writers of antiquity by whom they 
d been visited. 

I venture to quote the accounts 
ren by Herodotus and Strabo of 
9 interesting spot upon which 
\ now found ourselves; for al- 
ough comparatively so little met 
e eye, it is impossible not to feel 
UTinced that the sand - hills 



which we were investigating con- 
ceal substantial remains, yet to be 
discovered, of one of the most mar- 
vellous monuments of ancient gran- 
deur and ingenuity of which we 
have any record. Herodotus writes : 

" I have seen this monument ; and 
I believe that if one were to unite all 
the buildings and all the works of 
the Greeks, they would yet be inferior 
to this edifice, both in labour and 
expense, although the Temples of 
Ephesus and Samos are justly cele- 
brated. Even the Pyramids are cer- 
tainly monuments which surpass 
their expectation, and each one of 
them may be compared with the 
greatest productions of the Greeks. 
Nevertheless, the Labyrinth is greater 
still. We find in its interior twelve 
roofed auL<B, the doors of which are 
alternately opposite each other. Six 
of these auUz face to the north, and 
six to the south : they are contiguous 
to one another, and encircled by an 
enceinte f formed by an exterior wall. 
The chambers that the buildings of 
the Labyrinth contain are all double, 
one underground and the -other built 
above it. They number 3000, 1500 
in each level. We traversed those 
that are above ground, and we speak 
of what we have seen ; but for 
those which are below, we can only 
say what we were told, for on no ac- 
count whatever would the guardians 
consent to show them to us. They 
say that they contain the tombs 
of the kings who in ancient times 
built the Labyrinth, and those of the 
sacred crocodiles, so that we can only 
report on these chambers what we 
have heard. As to those of the upper 
storey, we have seen nothing greater 
among the works of man. The in- 
finite variety of the corridors and the 
galleries which communicate with one 
another, and which one traverses be- 
fore arriving at the atUce, overwhelm 
with surprise those who visit these 
places, and who pass now from one of 
the aulm into the chambers which 
surround it, now from one of these 
chambers into the porticoes, or again 
from the porticoes into the other auUe, 
The ceilings are everywhere of stone, 
like the walls, and these walls are 
covered with numberless figures en- 



40 



I%e Land of Kbemi. 



[July 



graved in the stone. Each one of 
these aui(B is ornamented with a peri- 
style executed in white stone, per- 
fectly fitted. At the angle where the 
Labyrinth terminates tliere is a pyra- 
mid 240 feet in height, decorated with 
large figures sculptured in relief. 
There is an undei^ound passage of 
communication with this pyramid." 

Strabo, who visited the Laby- 
rinth hundreds of years later, was 
no less struck with the magnifi- 
cence and design of this wonderful 
structure. 

" There is also," he says, " the Laby- 
rinth here, a work as important as the 
Pyramids, adjoining which is the tomb 
of the king who built the Labyrinth. 
After advancing about thii-ty or forty 
stadia beyond the first entrance of the 
canal, there is a table-shaped surface 
on which rise a small tower and a vast 
palace, consisting of as many royal 
dwellings as there were formerly 
nomes. There is also an equal num- 
ber of halls bordered with columns 
and adjoining each other, all being in 
the same row and forming one build- 
ing, like a long wall having the halls 
in front of it. The entrances to the 
halls are opposite the wall. In front 
of the entrances are long and nu- 
merous passages, which have winding 
paths nmning through them, so tliat 
the ingress and egress to each hall is 
not practicable to a stranger without 
a guide. It is a marvellous fact that 
each of the ceilings of the chambers 
consists of a single stone, and also that 
the passages are covered in the same 
way with single slabs of extraordinary 
size, neither wood nor other building 
material having been employed. On 
ascending the roof, the height of which 
is inconsiderable, as there is only one 
storey, we observe a vast plain of stone 
slabs. Descending again, and looking 
into the halls, we may observe the 
whole series borne by twenty-seven 
monolithic columns : the walls also are 
constructed of stone of similar size. 
At the end of this structure, which is 
more than a stadium in length, is the 
tomb, consisting of a scjuare pyramid, 
each side of which is four plethra 1^400 
feet] in length, and of equal height. 
The deceased who is buried here is 
called Israandes. It is also asserted 



that so many palaces were built be- 
cause it was the custom for all Uie 
nomes, represented by their magnates, 
with their priests and victims, to as- 
semble here to offer sacrifices and 
gifts to the gods, and to deliberate on 
the most important concerns." 

This is what we learn from an- 
cient sources of the Labyrinth. It 
will now bo interesting to turn to 
the only serious attempt which has 
been made in later years to explore 
its mysteries. This was undertaken 
by the Prussian expedition under 
Lepsius, about forty years ago, 
when the identification of its site 
had first been made by Linant Bey. 
They had a hundred men at work 
for nearly a month, and this was 
the result : — 

" Where the French expedition had 
vainly sought for chambers, we liter- 
ally at once found hundreds of them, 
both next to and above one another, 
small, often diminutive ones, besides 
greater ones, and large ones supported 
by small columns, with thresholds, and 
niches in the walls, with remains of 
columns and single casing stones, con- 
nected by corridors, so that the descrip- 
tions of Herodotus and Strabo in this 
respect are fully justified. The whole 
is so arranged that three immense 
masses of buildings 300 feet broad en- 
close a square place which is 600 feet 
long and 5(X) feet wide. The fourth 
side, one of the narrow ones, is bound- 
ed by the Pyramid which lies behind it 
— it is 300 feet sqiiare, and therefore 
does not quite reach the side wings of 
the above-mentioned masses of build- 
ings. , . . We found no inscrip- 
tions in the ruins of the great masses 
of chambers which surround the cen- 
tral space. It may easily be proved 
by future excavations that this whole 
building, and probably also the dis- 
position of the twelve courts, belon" 
only, in fact, to the twenty -sixt 
dynasty of Manetho, so that the or 
ginal temple of Anienemhat forme< 
merely part of this gigantic architec 
tural enclosure." 

It is most earnestly to be hopec 
that these excavations anticipatec 



1881.] 



Part IL^-TIie Labyrinth and the Lakes. 



41 



by Lepaias will some day be made, 
as, when we compare his account 
with those of Herodotus and Strabo, 
it falls far short of what we should 
have been led to expect ; and there 
can be little doubt that these 
mounds of sand, which cover the 
surface of a far greater area than he 
dealt with, conceal treasure which 
would richly reward further exam- 
ination. Unfortunately his exca- 
vations have since been buried by 
the sand. 

Our first proceeding after lunch- 
eon was to scramble to the top of 
the Pyramid so as to get a bird's- 
eye view of the ruins. Strabo ap- 
parently overestimated its dimen- 
sions. When perfect, the base was 
fifty feet less each way than he 
gives it; and Herodotus, who puts 
the height at 240 feet, was more 
nearly right than Strabo, who esti- 
mates it at 400. It is by no means 
an imposing structure, and is one of 
four built of crude brick mixed with 
straw, one being at Illahoon, and 
two at Sakkara. If it was built, 
as Strabo tells us, by Ismandes, 
who is identical with Semempses, 
the fifth king of the first dynasty, 
then it is the oldest pyramid ex- 
isting in Egypt It has been sug- 
gested that it was built by Asy- 
ehis, the fourth king of the third 
dynasty; but even in that case it 
most rank immediately after Mei- 
chon and Dashour, which become 
the oldest. The ground for this 
hypothesis is, that Herodotus teUs 
us that, accoi^ding to the priests, a 
king named Asychis, desirous of 
eclipsing all his predecessors, left 
a pyramid of brick as a monument 
)f his reign, with the following in- 
wription engraved on the stone : — 

"Despise me not in comparison 
nth the stone pyramids, for I 6ur[)ass 
hem all, as mach as Zeus surpasses 
he other gods. A pole was plunged 
nto the lake, and the mud which clave 
liercto was gathered, and bricks 



were made of the mud, and so I was 
formed." 

The proximity of the lake may ac- 
count for this allusion, and it has 
been ascertained that the nucleus 
is a natural mass of rock, thirty-nine 
feet high, which may be "the 
stone '* upon which the inscription 
was cut. Its present appearance 
would certainly disappoint the 
king's expectations, for the sides 
have crumbled so much away that 
I have since regretted that I did 
not achieve the proud distinction of 
riding on my donkey to the top of 
the oldest pyramid in the world. 
It appears originally to have been 
built in stages, and from its 
summit we could obtain an idea 
of the shape of the Labyrinth, 
which was of a horse-shoe form, 
and of the position and size of 
the Temple, the remains of which 
were mapped out at our feet. On 
the opposite side of the £ahr es 
Sherki we overlooked a congeries 
of crude brick-built chambers, all 
roofless. To the north was a long 
line of small chambers, with the 
crumbling walls of others scattered 
here and there. The form of Lake 
Moeris, on the margin of which 
this pyramid was built, might also 
be detected by the aid of a strong 
imagination ; and, about eight miles 
off, the Pyramid of Illahoon stood 
out sharply against the distant line 
of the hills beyond the jNile. To 
the southward a long grove of date- 
trees marked the limit of the oasis; 
and to the westward the town of 
Medinet, surrounded by gardens 
and palm-trees, formed an attrac- 
tive feature in the landscape. To 
the eastward, all was desert, bound- 
ed by sand-hills. A closer inspec- 
tion of the ruins, after we had de- 
scended from the Pyramid, on the 
left bank of the Bahr es Sherki, 
disclosed little of interest beyond 
a curious sort of double underground 
passage, formed by flags of lime- 



42 



The Land ofKhemi. 



[July 



stone. The upper passage seemed 
to have been roofed in on a level 
ivith the surface of the soil, and 
below this again there was a second 
one, which, however, was so choked 
with sand that it was impossible 
to follow it. As I was examining 
it I put up a jackal, which darted 
away across the desert, startled at 
the sudden intrusion upon his soli- 
tude. There were some mummied 
bones about, and I wondered whe- 
ther flesh which had undergone the 
drying process of ages could afford 
satisfactory gnawing material for 
these scavengers of the wilds. I 
suppose a human leg three thou- 
sand years old, if it does not con- 
XaixL much nourishment, must have 
a taste of some sort. 

There can be no doubt that we 
owe the modem word "labyrinth " to 
the strange accumulation of cham- 
bers and tortuous passages which 
once existed on the shores of Lake 
Mceris. According to- Manethon, 
the Labyrinth derived its name 
from King Labarys, its founder, 
also known as Amenemhat III. ; 
but another derivation has been 
suggested, which possesses the com- 
bined merit of extreme antiquity 
and originality. It seems that the 
old Egyptian word for the mouth 
of a reservoir, which Lake Moeris 
undoubtedly was, is ra-hunt or la- 
hunt Hence one of the names of 
the lake was " Hunt." The temple 
of the mouth of the reservoir would 
be ra-pe-ro-hunt, or lape-lo-hunt 
From laperohunt we get to laper- 
int, and then, by easy stages, to 
** labyrinth." It is more likely, how- 
ever, to have been the combination 
from which lUahoon is derived — 
the terminations lo-hunt and la-hunt 
not being very dissimilar, the addi- 
tion of the Arabic particle el form- 
ing the word. In allusion to Lake 
Mceris, over which we were now 
looking, Herodotus says : " Wonder- 
ful as is the Labyrinth, the work 



called the Lake of Mceris, which is 
close by the Labyrinth, is stiU more 
astonishing." 

Strabo says of it, — 

" Owing to its size and depth, it is 
capable of receiving the superabund- 
ance of water during the inimdation 
without overflowing the habitations 
and crops ; but later, when the water 
subsides, and after the lake has given 
up its excess through one of its two 
mouths, both it and the canal retain 
water enough for purposes of irriga- 
tion. This is accomplished by natural 
means, but at both ends of the canal 
there are also lock-gates by means of 
which the engineers can regulate the 
influx and efllux of the water." 

These lock-gates — which, according 
to Diodorus, cost £11,250 every 
time they were opened — are, no 
doubt, the great stone dikes and 
sluices mentioned later by Abool- 
feda at Illahoon, which regulated 
the quantity admitted into the 
Fayoum ; and it seems not improb- 
able that the modern Illahoon^ with 
its pyramid, was the site of the 
ancient town of Ftolemais. 

The Greeks believed that Lake 
Moeris was constructed by a king 
of the same name ; but it is proved 
that no such king existed, and 
that they invented the king from 
the Egyptian word " mere," which 
exactly corresponds to our word 
"mere." Until within a compar- 
atively recent period, the Birket 
el Kurtin was popularly supposed 
to have been the ancient Lake 
Moeris ; but as we know that the 
great object of Lake Moeris was to 
act as a reservoir for the waters 
which fertilised the Fayoum,. and 
that it was constructed as a triumph 
of engineering skill by Amenem- 
hat III, it becomes absolutely 
impossible to identify it with th< 
Lake of the Horn, which is twc 
hundred feet below the level ol 
Lake Moeris and the country it wa 
intended to irrigate, and is evi 
dently a natural sheet of water fee 



1881.] 



Part IL — The Labyrinth and the Lakes, 



43 



by springs : but eyen if it were 
not, it is at all events a natural 
depression, which it would require 
no genius to fill with water. More- 
over, Herodotus, speaking of the 
Labyrinth, says : '* It was a little 
above Lake Moeris, opposite Croco- 
dilopolis." Now the site of Croco- 
dilopolis is fifteen miles from the 
Lake of the Horn, but the dikes 
which testify to the existence of 
some vast ancient reservoir are in 
its immediate vicinity. According 
to the estimate of Linant Bey, to 
whom is due the discovery of the 
site of the Labyrinth and the posi- 
tion of Lake Moeris, the latter must 
haye been a sheet of water about 
sixty miles in circumference, and 
with an average depth of twenty 
feet Pomponius Mela says that 
it was navigated by large vessels 
which conveyed the produce of the 
Fajoom to other parts of Egypt. 
The Pyramid and Labyrinth were 
situated at the point where the 
liver entered it, and the vast ex- 
panse of green over which the eye 
wanders between the Pyramid and 
Medinet was formerly covered by 
its waters. Wherever the natural 
formation of the country did not 
isstndn them, immense dikes were 
' bailt, which must have been in 
some places thirty feet high, and 
which, to judge by the traces which 
exist on the north and west sides, 
must have been about thirty miles 
long, with an average breadth of 
one hundred and fifty feet — a work 
on a scale which would have ap- 
I palled engineers not accustomed to 
I build pyramids. Linant Bey calcu- 
I lates that this reservoir must have 
rigated a superficies of 600,000 
Tes, as, besides feeding the Fay- 
im, he believes that its waters 
ire carried down into the pro- 
^ce of Gizeh, and so ultimately 
.0 the old Canopic branch of the 
le at Mariout. Kor can one 
mder that an artificial lake of 



such great extent should have 
seemed a prodigy of engineering 
skill to the ancients. In addition 
to its great utility as a fertilising 
agent, it was invested with a char- 
acter of sanctity which gave it a 
wide celebrity. The sacred croco- 
dile, which was carefully tended 
and petted in its waters, was an 
object of the deepest veneration to 
the inhabitants of the Arsinoite 
iN'ome, who treated it with the most 
marked respect, and kept it at con- 
siderable expense, while a most 
elaborate cuisine provided it with 
dainties. ^' Geese, fish, and various 
fresh meats," says Sir Gardner 
Wilkinson, "were dressed pur- 
posely for it ; they ornamented its 
head with ear-rings, its feet with 
bracelets, and its neck with neck- 
laces of gold and artificial stones ; 
it was rendered perfectly tame by 
kind treatment, and after death its 
body was embalmed in a most 
sumptuous manner." 

It was rather unfortunate for the 
crocodile and his worshippers that 
the inhabitants of the adjoining 
Heracleopolitan Nome worshipped 
the ichneumon, the bitter enemy 
of the crocodile, which, it is report- 
ed, waged war upon him by the ori- 
ginal device of crawling down his 
throat when he was asleep, and 
feeding upon his intestines. The 
antipathy between the crocodile 
and the ichneumon, in consequence 
of this unfair mode of proceeding, 
seems to have extended to the wor- 
shippers of the two animals, which 
led, during the reign of the Romans, 
to disputes that terminated in blood- 
shed, and made the contending 
parties forget the respect due to 
the sacred monuments of their ad- 
versaries to such an extent that 
the destruction of the Labyrinth 
by the Heracleopolitans was the 
final result. It is difi&cult to re- 
concile psychologically a worship 
so full of trivialities with a religion 



44 



The Land of Khemi. 



[July 



80 replete witli lofty moral concep- 
tioiis, and with the high intellec- 
tual capacity which created a Lake 
Moeris, reared huge pyramids, con- 
structed the stupendous work of 
art which was celebrated through- 
out the then civUised world as the 
Labyrinth, and called into existence, 
out of a tract of desert, the fertile 
province which for many centuries 
derived its name as the Crocodilo- 
politan Kome, from the animal thus 
venerated. 

When we had exhausted our ex- 
amination of the left bank of the 
Bahr es Sherki, we announced our 
intention to the crowd of attendant 
Arabs who had accompanied us 
from the village, of crossing over 
to see the network of chambers on 
the other side. To our dismay they 
pronounced the stream unfordable, 
and told us we should have to make 
a circuit of two miles by a bridge. 
This I resolutely declined, and some 
of the Arabs accordingly stripped to 
try and find a ford. The channel 
was so narrow that it might easily 
have been jumped with the aid of 
a leaping-pole ; but the men had 
some difficulty in finding a spot 
where the water only came up to 
their armpits. This was the depth 
even close to the bank ; but by per- 
forming a sort of circus feat, and 
each of us sitting astride the heads 
of two men, we got carried across, 
while our donkeys were sent round. 
It was not a very gracefu], perform- 
ance for a lady ; but in the absence 
of any other spectators than the 
sons of the desert, it did not so 
much matter. The chambers were 
a disappointing collection of tiny 
apartments, with thick waUs of 
crude brick — possibly over a hun- 
dred in number — their floors strewn 
with pottery, rags, and bones. TVe 
picked up a bead, some good speci- 
mens of blue and green glazed terra 
cotta, and fragments of glass. In one 
room alone I observed five human 



skulls, and there werenumerousbones 
to which the dried flesh still adher- 
ed under the wrappings of mummy- 
cloth. Altogether, the vestiges of 
these ruins conveyed as much the 
idea of a necropolis as of an. assem- 
blage of council -chambers, and it 
is not unlikely that its primitive de> 
sign was simply to serve as a vast 
sepulchre like that at Sakkara. 
There 'can be little doubt that 
pyramids invariably form the centres 
of such burial-places — indeed Hero- 
dotus tells us that he was informed 
by his guides that the lower cham- 
bers were used for funeral purposes ; 
and Amenemhat may have selected 
this spot on the shores of the lake 
he had created, as his own resting- 
place and that of the chief men of 
his reign. From the records upon 
the inscriptions where his name has 
been found, it is almost beyond a 
doubt that he is buried here, al* 
though not within the Pyramid; 
and the mode of sepulture among 
the ancient Egyptians renders it, in 
the opinion of some Egyptologists, 
extremely likely that this vast con- 
geries of apartments, which at a later 
period were converted into coun- 
cil-halls, were originally mortuary 
chambers, but upon a scale of such 
magnificence and vastness that the 
subsequent dynasties considered 
them available for other purposes. 
Indeed we have no recoid of the 
Labyrinth being used for great im- 
perial assemblies until the period 
immediately preceding the Fsam- 
tikides of the twenty-sixth dynas- 
ty, or about 1900 years after the 
time of Amenemhat, its construc- 
tor. At the same time, it is not 
impossible that the Labyrinth wa 
used for other purposes as we! . 
as those of sepulture, even firon 
the earliest period ; for the assem- 
blage of twelve palaces or aulcBj as 
described by Herodotus, must have 
had some reference to the twelve 
nomes into which Egypt was di- 



1881.] 



Part IL — The Labyrinth and the Lakes. 



45 



Tided before the number was in- 
creased by Eameses II. to thirty- 
six. And we may be safe in saying 
that if we carry oar imaginations 
back 3500 years, or even more, 
the spot upon which we were now 
standing presented an aspect of 
scenic beauty, of architectural mag- 
nificence, and was inyested with 
a character of political and re- 
ligious importance, unrivalled in the 
world, which it retained for nearly 
2000 years. It was evidently 
selected, from its central position 
on the boundary - line which 
divided Upper from Lower Egypt, 
for the great regal, political, and 
sacerdotal rites which were cele- 
brated here. Standing on the 
shores of a beautiful lake, the. 
waters of which reflected the mag- 
nificent city of Crocodilopolis Ar- 
sinoc immediately opposite, and 
which was navigated by number- 
less craft, and surrounded by palm- 
groves and those gardens of fruits 
and flowers for which the province 
was celebrated, the Labyrinth oc- 
cupied a position of great scenic 
heauty, and. of political significance. 
It was the great council-hall of Egypt. 
Hither flocked the representatives 
of the different nomes to the great 
assembly of the nation; here con- 
gregated the high priests to cele- 
brate those great religious ceremo- 
nies which, demanded the united 
homage of the people. Here prob- 
ably kings were crowned, laws were 
made, great public works decided 
upon, questions of war or peace 
settle, — in a word, in this con- 
geries of palaces, under the shadow 
of the Pyramid, on the banks of 
this vast artificial lake, which had 
been adorned and beautified by the 
taste and resources of successive 
centuries, all the highest interests 
of the nation were discussed in as- 
semblies composed of the great 
powers of the State — the king, the 
priesthood, and the army. It is im- 



possible to associate in one's mind 
the crude brick rooms which are 
still standing, or even the discoveries 
of Lepsius, now covered with sand, 
with all this splendour and magni- 
ficence, vestiges of which must still 
remain to reward the labours of the 
explorer. 

We returned to the village of 
Howara by another road, approach- 
ing the bluff upon the edge of 
which it is built like a fortress, 
through a grove of date-trees, and re- 
embarked at a spot where an Arab 
was working a most primitive ferry- 
boat. It presented the appearance 
of a straw raft with sides, and was 
constructed entirely of bundles of 
reeds ; one bundle being placed up- 
right in the bows, round which the 
rope was passed by means of which 
it was worked, and which stretched 
across from one bank to the other. 
We floated back over the placid 
waters of the Bahr Youssef in the 
glow of the brilliant sunset, the 
men keeping time to the lazy plash 
of their oars with boat-songs, — 
their choruses now measured and 
dreamy, as though unable to resist 
the somnolent influences which per- 
vaded all nature — now wild and 
fitful, as they put on a spurt, pro- 
bably under the jtill more potent 
inspiration of empty stomachs and 
a pot of lentils in prospect. 

The railway, which has its ter- 
minus at Medinet el Fayoum for 
regular traffic, is continued to the 
Government sugar-factory at Abouk- 
ser as an agricultural line; and 
twice a-week during the cane-cut- 
ting season, a waggon — it can scarce- 
ly be called a carriage — is attached 
for the conveyance of passengers. I 
was glad to join a party consisting 
of the Governor and two or three 
native officials on a trip to the 
factory, which is situated in the 
vicinity of the Birket el Kurtln, or 
"Lake of the Horn." It is not 
much more than ten miles, as the 



46 



The Land of Kliemi. 



[July 



crow flies, to Aboukser ; but as the 
difiference of level between the 
plateau on which Medinet is situ- 
ated and the lake is about 170 
feet, and the descent becomes more 
abrupt towards the end of the 
plateau, the line takes a loug curve, 
partly for the sake of an easier 
gradient, and partly because it thus 
traverses a wider extent of cane- 
field — ^its whole length being thus 
over fifteen miles. The train at 
starting consisted only of the engine 
and waggon, which might have 
been a baggage - van with four 
windows cut in it, and a divan 
placed all round; but before we had 
gone very far, we came upon a 
couple of trucks filled with cane 
standing on the line in the middle 
of a cane-field. They were mere 
iron cradles, their walls consisting 
of long stalks of sugar-cane woven 
into the iron so as to hold the cane, 
which was cut into lengths from 
two to three feet long. They 
were attached in front of the 
engine, which then moved slowly 
along till we came to another batch. 
These were almost empty ; but the 
cane was piled on each side of the 
line, and gangs of Arabs rapidly 
loaded them, while we took ad- 
vantage of the ^elay to water the 
engine. This was performed in the 
most primitive fashion by a couple 
of sakkas, or water-carriers, who, 
having placed a notched section of 
a date-tree between the engine and 
the ground to serve as a ladder, 
laboriously filled the goatskins, 
which are swung on their backs, 
at a ditch by the side of the track, 
climbed up the tree -ladder on to 
the engine, and emptied their goat- 
skins into the boiler : by the time 
it was full the trucks were loaded, 
and we went on again, pushing 
about a dozen of them before us. 
This operation was performed several 
times, until at last there were at 
least thirty loaded trucks ahead of 
the engine. As may be imagined. 



under these circumstances we never 
attained a very high rate of speed ; 
but we were not in a hurry, and 
I was not sorry to traverse an en- 
tirely new tract of country thus 
leisurely, as it enabled me the 
better to appreciate its rich luxu- 
riance and still undeveloped capa- 
bilities. The Fayoum contains, at 
a rough estimate, about 250,000 
acres of land, of which half belongs 
to the Grovernment, and the remain- 
der to the peasants and native pro- 
prietors. Among these latter some 
are very rich ; and one of my fellow- 
passengers on this occasion had an 
estate of about a thousand aeree, 
on which he had built a handsome 
country-house. He pointed it out to 
me as we passed it about a mile 
from the track, and invited me to 
pay him a visit, an invitation which 
I regretted I was unable to accept. 
From all that I could learn, a well- 
managed farm in the Fayoum may 
be made a most profitable under- 
taking. If the cultivation of the 
sugar, cotton, and indigo, for which 
it is eminently adapted, have not 
proved so successful as they might 
be, the causes are not far to seek. 

There are no regular stations on 
this line, but we stop ^* apropos 
accordingly," as my coachman need 
to say, wherever sugar-cane hap- 
pens to be lying about We passed, 
nevertheless, many thriving vil- 
lages, most of them picturesquelj 
situated on mounds, or on the edge 
of one of the precipitous tcadies 
which intersect the country, and 
which form in places pretty wooded 
glens through which brawl running 
streams, while heavy palm-groves 
throw their shade over alL Aft 
leaving Siueru, which is a lar 
village, with gardens of prick 
pear, and a little grove of opnni 
trees, the country begins to slo] 
more rapidly towards the lake, at 
the railway takes a wide curve pai 
the villages of Agamieh, Kazle 
and Bisheh, all lying to the le 



1881.] 



Part IL — The Labyrinth and the Lakes. 



47 



of the line, and connected with 
each other hy dense groves of date- 
trees. Of these, !Nazlet is the most 
picturesquely situated on the Bahr 
Nazlet, which in former times was 
one of the outlets of the Lake 
Moeris, and is now a ravine 250 
yards hroad from bank to bank, 
and 100 feet deep, which forms 
quite a romantic and imposing 
feature in the landscape. Near 
Bisheh the line crosses the exten- 
sive mounds of an ancient town, 
covered, like those at Arsinoe, with 
firagments of pottery, glass, bones, 
brickbats, &c. ; but, unfortunately, 
there was no sugar-cane at the spot^ 
so the train did not stop to enable 
me to get out and examine it. In- 
deed we had picked up all the 
loaded trucks by this time, and 
were rumbling along at the rate of 
about ten miles an hour, followed by 
a racing, scrambling crowd of boys 
and girls, who rush out of the adjoin- 
ing villages when the train passes, 
to pick up the scatterings of Sugar- 
cane which fall from the trucks. 
For at least a couple of miles we 
were thus pursued, old men and 
women occasionally joining in the 
race, and in their eagerness to 
clutch the cane, rolling over each 
other on the track. By this time 
we have reached our lowest level: 
to the left^ about five miles distant, 
beyond a fiat, and in places marshy, 
tract, the blue waters of the lake 
glisten in the afternoon sun, and 
rising abruptly from their western 
margin are the Libyan hills, beyond 
which stretches an unexplored and 
desolate tract of the Sahara. In 
strong contrast' with the wildness 
Buid beauty of the scene, a row of 
tall iron funnels or chimneys right 
n front of us indicate our destina- 
ion, and we pull up between more 
iiles of sugar-cane, in an atmosphere 
itiongly flavoured with the all- 
pervading odour of molasses. On a 
)lTiff about a mile to the right is 
bhe village of Aboukser, while the 



flat tract which intervenes between 
us and the lake is an expanse of 
cane-fields, through which radiate 
branches of the agricultural railway 
in all directions. 

Unfortunately I was not well 
enough to encounter the fatigue of 
a ride to the lake and back, and 
the boating and fishing expedition 
on its waters which had been the 
main object of my trip. Indeed I 
had hoped to be able to visit the 
ruins of Kasr Karoon, which are 
situated at its south-western ex- 
tremity, as well as those of Kasr 
Kimroud just opposite, on the sum- 
mit of the desert clifl^ and the ruined 
walls of -which could be distin- 
guished from Aboukser with a spy- 
glass. There are no villages worthy 
the name on the margin of the lake. 
The fishing population are mostly 
Bedouin Arabs, who live in tents or 
hovels, and whose open undecked 
boats are of a primitive unwieldy 
description, without masts or sails, 
redolent of decayed fish, and afl'ord- 
ing, as I wa.s informed, a maximum 
of discomfort in every way. I 
afterwards met an old resident in 
Egypt, and a distinguished Egyp- 
tologist, who had camped for eight 
days at the ruins of Kasr Nimroud, 
and who described them as consist- 
ing of gigantic mud -brick walls, 
evidently those of an ancient fort- 
ress, situated on a high plateau of 
natural rock, an hour distant from 
the margin of the lake, the road 
leading to which was paved with 
immense flags of stones on which 
were visible ruts as of chariot- 
wheels. But, curiously enough, 
neither he nor any person at Abouk- 
ser of whom I made inquiry, had 
ever heard of Dimeh,. with its street 
400 yards long embellished with 
lions, and its ruined temple. Lep- 
sius says it was marked on his map 
as Medinet Nimroud, but he could 
only hear of it by the name of 
Dimeh, an experience which illus- 
trates how easy it is for travellers 



48 



The Land of Kkemi. 



[July 



in these parts to be misled in 
regard to nomenclature : it is sup- 
posed to be the site of the ancient 
Bacchis. 

The ruins of Kasr Karoon are 
much better known than those of 
Dimeh or Kasr Nimroud ; but even 
they would certainly repay further 
investigation. Five miles beyond 
Aboukser, on the same side of the 
lake, is the village of Senhur, which 
is situated on mounds indicating 
the site of an ancient city of some 
extent. Indeed there is every rea- 
son to suppose that in former times 
the edge of this plateau overlooking 
the lake was crowned with a series 
of towns inhabited by a large popu- 
lation. In point of position and 
surroundings, all the modern vil- 
lages have a sort of family resem- 
blance, and of these Aboukser may 
be taken as a type. At the base of 
the bluff was an extensive grove 
of fine palm-trees, beneath which 
sugar-cane had been planted; and 
as I passed through it, the whole 
population were out cutting it. 
Men, women, children, camels, and 
buffaloes were picturesquely grouped 
under the shade of the tall feather- 
ing trees in the cane-field, all noisily 
at work; while through it curved 
a canal abundantly supplied with 
water that found its way to the 
lower level by an artificial cascade 
about forty feet high, which foamed 
over a high dike that in former 
times retained its waters in a lake. 
After sketching so unusual an 
object in Egypt as a waterfall, I 
made my way to the top of it with 
the view of examining the ancient 
structure. The lake was now dry, 
and its bottom served as the vege- 
table garden for the vUlage; but 
there was no question as to the 
extreme antiquity of the solid ma- 
sonry, which might easily be re- 
paired if it was considered worth 
while to reconstruct the reservoir. 
Above it to the right rose the high 
mound upon which the modem 



village, looking almost like a fort- 
ress, is built ; in rear of it are cac- 
tus-gardens, and the usual waste of 
brickbats and pottery, while here 
and there the mud -brick walls 
of an old house crop out, among 
which I found a few fragments of 
blue and green glaze, interesting 
enough to carry away. From the 
highest mound of debris a magnifi- 
cent view is obtained over the lake, 
with a rocky island in the mid- 
dle, and the plain stretching away 
north-east and south-west far as 
the eye can reach. The Birket el 
Kurfin is steadily stealing away 
the good land from the country, 
either submerging it altogether, or 
impregnating it so abundantly with 
salt as to destroy its value for all 
purposes of cultivation. This arises 
from the fact that owing to an ab- 
sense of a proper surveillance of 
irrigation in the Fayoum, about 
three times more water is allowed 
to run into the lake than the evapo- 
ration can carry ofi^, as, owing to its 
depression below the level of the 
sea, it has no outlet. This water 
might be advantageously employed 
in irrigating land now unproduc- 
tive for the lack of it. Instead 
of its superabundance being thus 
utilised, it is allowed to submerge 
land which would otherwise be 
available for cultivation ; and thus, 
so far from being a benefit to the 
country, it becomes an injury to it, 
— besides which, whenever water is 
allowed to stagnate in Egypt, it in- 
filtrates for some distance beyond 
its margin, and the effect is to cause 
the saline qualities in the soil to 
rise to the surface. Owing to this 
double process of submergence an 
infiltration, it is calculated tbi 
about 10,000 acres which wouL 
otherwise have been available fo 
sugar, belonging to the Dair: 
Sanieh alone, are practically lost 
There can be no doubt that ai 
immense tract of land could b< 
reclaimed from the lake without 



1881.] 



Pui*t 11. — T7ie Labyrinth and the Lakes. 



49 



Yerjmach difficulty, which would 
in ihe first instance be available for 
rice, and by degrees become fit 
for cane. More cane- land is much 
wanted; for as it is, the sugar- 
f^toiy can scarcely be made to pay 
its expenses, owing to the want of a 
sufficient quantity of cane, and in 
some years it works at a loss. At 
Masserah Edouddah, about three 
hoars from Aboukser, there is a 
large sugar- factory which is per- 
manently closed owing to this 
cause. Altogether, there are 76,000 
seres of land in the Fayoum belong- 
ing to the Daira Sanieh, which 
might he largely improved by a 
more careful rotation of crops, and 
increased by reclaiming land from 
the lake, and which no doubt is 
capable of being made a magnifi- 
cent and profitable property. Be- 
sides the sugar-mill already alluded 
to at Masserah, there is a fine cotton- 
oil mill and gin at £dsa, not far 
from Medinet el Fayoum, which has 
not worked for two years ; and also 
one at Tamyeh, on the north- east- 
em margin of the province, which 
is also standing idle. I^o doubt, 
nnder the improved system which 
is being introduced by the Com- 
mission that now administers the 
Daira Sinieb, the productive ca- 
pacity of the property in the 
Fayoum will be largely increased. 
There are also 46,000 acres belong- 
ing to the department of the Dom- 
aines ; so that altogether there are 
122,000 acres of Government land 
in this province alone, the revenues 
of which are hypothecated to for- 
eign creditors. 

About half a mile from the fac- 
tory, towards the lake, is a grove 
of date-trees overshadowing a house 
of unusual pretensions for this part 
of the country. I was introduced 
to the proprietor of it, and found to 
my surprise that he was the head 
sheikh of all the Bedouin Arabs 
on both sides of the lake. The 

VOL. CXXX. ^NO. DOOLXXXIX. 



idea of a Bedouin sheikh living 
like a civilised being in a large 
whitewashed two - storeyed house 
was entirely new to me. He had 
fortunately not yet adopted a white 
waistcoat and lavender - coloured 
gloves, but retained his native garb 
in all its picturesqueness, which, 
however, was composed of the most 
costly material. His handsome 
Arab horse was gorgeously capari- 
soned, the bridle mounted with 
solid silver ; and his groom carried 
an old-fashioned rifle richly inlaid. 
Though a man evidently mindful 
of the effect of external show, and 
somewhat of a ** buck " in his per- 
sonal attire, he retained under all 
circumstances an attitude of the 
most calm and dignified politeness; 
and it was impossible to judge 
from the imperturbable repose of 
his handsome features what was 
passing in his mind. He was a 
man about fifty years old, exercised 
a controlling influence over the 
Arab tribes for many miles round, 
and was possessed of great wealth, 
not merely in flocks and herd?, but 
in land. The object of his visit to 
the factory on the occasion when 
I saw him was to be present at a 
dispute between some Arabs and 
some fellahiny the nature of which 
also helps to illustrate how rapidly 
the introduction of the appliances 
of civilisation tends to change the 
habits of the wild sons of the 
desert. The whole party came up 
and argued their case in the pres- 
ence of the Moufettish, whose guest 
I had become, for the Governor had 
returned to Medinet. On the one 
side were a group oi fellahin, the 
bloody shirt of one suggesting that 
he had got the worst of a recent 
scuffle ; on the other, in marked con- 
trast to these, with their haughty 
and defiant demeanour, stood four 
minor Arab sheikhs, all strikingly 
handsome men, with flowing abeih 
and creamy-white hcram^, 
n 



50 



The Ltnd of Khemi. 



[July 



Between these angry disputants 
was seated the Moufettish, and at 
his side the chief sheikh, whose 
rich apparel and impassive demean- 
our I have already descrihed. The 
villagers, it appeared, had contracted 
with the Moufettish to cut a certain 
amount of sugar-cane in a given 
time, and had engaged a numher 
of Bedouins to supply camels, and 
otherwise assist in carrying out the 
operation, — ^making, in fact, a suh- 
contract with them, to which it 
was complained that they had not 
adhered, and had even heaten those 
who ventured to expostulate. The 
quarrel turned upon the amount 
and nature of the work which prac- 
tically had heen divided hetween 
them, and I failed to follow its 
intricacies sufficiently to know who 
were in the right — probahly the 
feUahiHy — hut certainly, when Be- 
douin Arahs enter into contracts for 
harvesting cane for a steam sugar- 
factory, a change is coming over the 
spirit of their dream. To watch 
the eager and almost ferocious ex- 
pression of their countenances as 
they argued their case with "heast- 
ly bellowings," and wild gesticula- 
tions, it was evident that it would 
take a long course of peaceful avo- 
cations before the change went 
beyond the spirit of the dream to 
the spirit of the man. I afterwards 
visited one of their encampments, 
where the usual tents were supple- 
mented with huts and enclosures 
made of straw and cane-leaves ; but 
they retained, nevertheless, their 
general gipsy and nomadic aspect. 

On my return journey to Medinet 
the following day, I had the divaned 
waggon all to myself, and we re- 
versed the operation of our former 
experience. Starting with a long 
train of empty cane- trucks, we 
stopped at intervals and dropped 
them by twos and threes wherever 
the cane had been piled, to be picked 
up when the train went back the 
next day. 



We tried, one afternoon, an ex- 
perimental ride on camels, with a 
view of testing the merits of some 
saddles from the Soudan, which, 
we were assured, were especially 
comfortable. The object of our 
trip was to examine a prostrate 
obelisk, distant about three miles. 
The weather so far had been de- 
lightful, the thermometer seldom 
falling below 65° ; and the gardens 
beneath our windows were redolent 
with the perfume of roses — for 
which the Fayoum was formerly 
so celebrated — ^in full bloom. On 
this afternoon, however, we had 
scarcely started when the weather 
changed, and before we reached our 
destination, a cold wind set in, 
accompanied by smart showers of 
rain, which made the poor camels 
shiver and tremble with anxiety 
as they staggered slowly over the 
smooth slippery mud. The ex- 
perience was by no means agree- 
able to the riders, as the prospect 
of coming down headlong, camel 
and all, is quite a different sen- 
sation from that which one feels 
under like conditions on horseback. 
It seems scarcely possible to fall 
from such a height withont the 
certainty of breaking one's bones. 
When at last we reached the village 
of Biggig, we found our camel-men 
did not know the way, and we had 
to ask for a guide — a request which 
resulted in the greater proportion 
of the male population volunteering 
their services and accompanying ns. 
We had quite a difficult ride across 
fields where there were no paths, and 
numerous ditches had to be crossed, 
before we found, half embedded in 
mud and water, the two huge fraj 
ments of this great monolith, or 
of which measures 26^ feet, an 
the other 16 feet 3 inches lon^ 
The face of the lower half, whicl 
is covered with hieroglyphics, mea 
sures 6 feet 9 inches at its lowe 
end, and the sides are about 4 fee 
in width. At the upper part o 



1831.] 



Part IL — The Labyrinth and the Lakes, 



61 



the face are five compartment9, one 
over the other, in each of which 
are figures of King Orsitarsen, 
also known as Amenemhat I., 
offering to two deities. This obe- 
lisk, which is of red porphyry, is 
contemporaneous with the one at 
Heliopolis, and was erected by the 
same king, the second of the twelfth 
dynasty, who reigned about 2440 
years rc, and about 140 years, 
therefore, before Amenemhat III., 
to whom I have already referred 
as the creator of the Labyrinth 
and the lake. It is evident, 
however, from the existence of this 
great monument, that the province 
was highly esteemed before his 
time; and the historical tradition 
is probably correct which attributes 
the reclaiming and conversion of 
the Fayoum to Phiops, the Moeris 
of the Greeks and Eomans, who 
was the fourth king of the sixth 
dynasty, and lived about 3000 B.C. 
It is difficult to account for the 
isolated position of this obelisk. 
There is not a vestige of a ruin 
nearer than Arsinoe ; and it must 
either have been dropped here on 
its way to that city, or posnibly 
was an ornament to gardens which 
were a place of resort. Had there 
been a temple in the immediate 
vicinity, it could scarcely have dis- 
appeared without leaving a trace. 
As it IB, the flat surface of the 
black soQ is unbroken by any 
mound or tumulus; nor are there 
any fragments of granite or stone 
in the neighbourhood. It differs 
from other obelisks inasmuch as its 
snmmit is rounded, and not pointed, 
i^i in the breadth of its faces and 
I es being so dissimilar. A groove 
1 1 been cut in its apex, doubtless 
t hold an ornament like that at 
1 ;liopoli8. In the hieroglyphics 
c the sides, the king is said to be 
\ 3ved of Ptah and Mandoo, who, 
i is snpposed, were the principal 
( inities of the place. Whatever 
I ^ be its origin and meaning. 



there is something solemn and sug- 
gestive in the aspect of this great 
fractured block of history, traced 
with the records of extreme an- 
tiquity, and lying here neglected in 
a bean-field, a mile from any human 
habitation, an object of mystery 
and awe to the ignorant peasantry, 
and of speculation to ourselves, 
which will probably never be satis- 
fied. It, at all events, disposes 
finally of a popular theory, that all 
the pyramids were on one side of 
the Nile and all the obelisks on 
the other. 

As we were neither of us in a 
condition, so far as strength was 
concerned, to walk back through 
the mud and rain, our return jour- 
ney on our lofty animals was not a 
little perilous, the more especially 
as darkness came on before we 
reached home. Our way for the 
most part was along the slippery 
edge of a gully which cut through 
soft country. Sometimes we took 
refuge in the young wheat-fields, to 
the intense indignation of the pro- 
prietors, who shouted angry remon- 
strances; sometimes we scrambled 
down into the bed of the wady, 
hoping to find safer travelling- 
ground. At last, wet and tired, 
after being four hours in the saddle, 
instead of two, as we expected, 
we reached the town just as our 
anxious friends had sent out their 
servants to look for us. After this 
experience we were obliged to give 
up our triptoBiahmu, a village about 
four miles to the north of Medinet, 
where the remains of two ancient 
monuments exist, the nature of which 
I was anxious to try and verify, as 
it is still a matter of dispute. 
Linant considers them the remains 
of the pyramids upon which were 
the statues of King Moeris and his 
consort, which Herodotus indicates 
as being in the middle of the lake. 
Lepsius describes them as built out 
of great massive blocks, the nucleus 
of each of which is still standing, 



52 



Tlie Land o/Khemf. 



[July 



bat not in the centre of the almost 
square rectangle which, by their 
appearance, they seem to have ori- 
ginally occupied. While Linant 
makes these outside enclosures 
"square," and Lepsius "almost 
square," Murray's 'Guide* makes 
them measure sixty -five feet by 
forty-five. Lepsius believes that 
their height was never greater than 
it is now — viz., twenty-three feet — 
to which must be added a peculiar 
and somewhat projecting base of 
seven feet. The foundations were 
on Nile mud, and the inclination 
of their angle 64", which is steeper 
than that of ordinary pyramids, 
and hence he concludes against 
Linant Bey's hypothesis. On the 
other hand, the lower stones bear 
the traces of water — the Nile mud 
may have been Lake Moeris mud. 
There are no other remains within 
the area of the lake, and the remains 
of the dams would go to show that 
they stood in its extreme north east 
angle. The fact that they were not 
ordinary pyramids, but rather pyr- 
amidal pedestals for statues, may 
account for the steeper inclination 
of their angles. At all events, the 
point is an interesting one, which a 
more thorough investigation would 
probably decide. 

We should gladly have lingered 
longer in the Fayoum had it been 
in our power to take our tents and 
camels and wander about in search 
of the antique and the picturesque. 
Unfortunately, our experience of 
camel-riding had proved too fatigu- 
ing, and we were obliged to substi- 
tute another project, which, how- 
ever, proved scarcely less agreeable. 
We could not leave the Fayoum 
without wondering at the neglect 
of the tourist who has done Thebes, 
and Luxor, and the Second Cataract., 
and is looking for more worlds 
to conquer — of a region with so 
many attractions, and so accessible. 
The sportsman, the artist, and 



the archaeologist will all find 
their tastes gratified in this charm- 
ing oasis. The Birket el Kar&n 
ofTers, probably, better sport to the 
angler than he would find else- 
where in Egypt. In the thickets 
in some of the ravines are to be 
found wild boar; while lynxes, 
wolves, jackals, ichneumons, and 
hares are more or less abundant. 
Pelicans, wild geese, ducks, t«al, 
and water-fowl of different varieties, 
frequent the marshy shores of the 
lake. The antiquarian would find 
Arsinoo, the Labyrinth, the Temple 
of Kasr Raroon, and the ruins on 
the western shores of the lake, foil, 
not merely of interest, but of poa- 
sible discoveries. At Senooris there 
are the graves of the early Chris- 
tians who are said to have been 
martyred, and the peasantry have 
no scruple in exhuming them to sa- 
tisfy the curiosity of the anthropolo- 
gist who desires to have a specimen 
of an early Christian's skull, or the 
curious coffins in which their corpses 
were placed ; while the fortress-like 
village of Tamiyeh, the thicket-dad 
gorge of Fidimin, and the broad 
precipitous trady at Nadet, would 
offer subjects for the artist of a char- 
acter not to be found elsewhere in 
Egypt. It is true that modem no 
less than ancient writers have in 
some respects exaggerated the lax> 
uriance of the Fayoum. One writes 
of " a virgin forest," and of " orange- 
trees as big as oaks ; " and another 
of ''a plantation of opuntia, the 
growth of which is so gigantic as 
almost to resemble a forest," which 
I happened to see, and which cer- 
tainly fell far short of this descrip- 
tion : but in spite of all this, the 
can be no doubt that the Fayov 
possesses a charm denied to ai 
other section of the country, and i 
brawling streams and verdant r 
cesses will well repay the travel! 
in search of " fresh fields and pa 
tures new." 



1881.] 



The Private Secretary.— Fart IX. 



53 



THE PRIVATE SECRETARY. — PART IX. 



CHAPTER XXIX 



Hilda waited for a minute, not 
to appear in a hurry, and to recover 
from the agitation into which the 
message had thrown her, and then 
passiDg out of the office, walked 
down the little passage towards 
Clifford's room. As she did so, 
Jane passed out by the outer door 
with her bonnet and scarf on, as 
if bound on an errand. Mrs Sim- 
monds Hilda had not seen that 
mormng, 

Clifford rose from his chair as 
she entered his room, and advanc- 
ing, offered his hand, but without 
betraying any excitement in his 
manner, and, indeed, turning away 
his eyes to avoid her glances. His 
"Good morning, Hilda; pray take 
a seat," was spoken in his ordinary 
way, without any sign of emotion. 
Hilda, for her part, felt calmer than 
she had expected to be, and her 
composure returned entirely when 
he began to talk about her brother's 
departurei inquiring with a friendly 
interest into all the particulars. 

And yet it was evident that Clif- 
ford was not quite at his ease. His 
calmness was simulated; he was 
trying to lead the conversation 
into another direction. At last he 
changed it abruptly. 

"What do you think of my 
cousin, Hilda T' 

He spoke as if in jest, but yet 
watched her face eagerly to see how 
she would take it. 

'' Is that a fair question to ask 1 " 
8 I replied. The tone of her voice 
1 t a little scornful, but expressed 
a « reproach and entreaty. 

Hilda," he continued, rising and 
t ing his stand before the fire- 
{ %, the position he had occupied 
( the day of her first visiti while 



she was now just before him in the 
chair, sitting in which she had writ- 
ten her introductory essay — a day 
separated from the present by a 
few weeks only, yet which now 
seemed a very long way off, — 
''Hilda, I have something to tell 
you which you ought to know. It 
is not what you expect to hear, — 
at least," he added in confusion at 
his clumsiness, "I should say it 
mainly concerns my cousin and my- 
self. Hilda, the world believes nie 
to be rich, and thinks me a fortu- 
nate fellow; and, as you know, I 
have been spending money freely 
without let or hindrance. But I 
am little better than an impostor, 
so far at least as I have been im- 
posing — on you. I have not even 
a life -interest in my fortune. I 
have only a temporary use of it, 
subject to a certain condition, the 
time for fulhlling which is now fast 
approaching, and if I refuse to ac- 
cept it, why, then, I am released 
from my golden fetters, but I be- 
come a beggar. Hilda, cannot you 
guess what that condition is ] " 

Hilda sat with folded hands and 
eyes turned away from him, looking 
straight in front of her, but a gleam 
of joy passed across her face. She 
understood what the condition was, 
and could not doubt that he was 
going to refuse it ; and for the mo- 
ment the thought of the conse- 
quences to him was hidden by the 
sweet consciousness that the sacri- 
fice would be made for her sake. 

"Although this necessity," he 
continued, " has always been before 
me, ever since I first came into pos- 
session of my income, it was pres- 
ent only in a faint, indefinite sort 
of way. The years passed on. I 



54 



The Private Secretary. — Part IX. 



[July 



heard nothing of my relatives, ex- 
cept by report. Blanche's father 
was reputed to be very rich; he 
does not care to secure my money 
for her, I thought ; my fortune ap- 
pears insignificant to him; he is 
not going to hold me to the bar- 
gain ; we shall both be free. The 
time approached when his part of 
the conditions had to be acted on ; 
when either they must come and 
seek me out, or else in six mouths 
more I should be free and my own 
roaster. But I heard nothing of 
them, and had hardly taken count of 
the time that was so near at hand, 
when suddenly — on that day you 
must remember, the day you first 
graced this room with your sweet 
presence — I got the fatal news. 
Blanche and her mother had ar- 
rived in London. 

"I could not doubt what their 
purpose was. I remembered now 
that there were just the six months 
remaining before the completion of 
the time specified in the will, which 
were to be allowed me for making 
my cousin's acquaintance. She and 
her mother had come to seek me 
out, according to the clause which 
required them to do so. The other 
side intended to fulfil their part of 
the compact; I was challenged to 
fulfil mine." 

Still his listener made no answer, 
but her face assumed a graver as- 
pect. 

"At one time," continued the 
speaker, looking down, and speak- 
ing in a low voice, " the condition 
did not seem so very difficult. I 
was heart-whole then. I tried hard 
to fancy myself in love with my 
cousin — you know how beautiful 
she is — and I might perhaps have 
succeeded, although I should never 
have been so infatuated as to be- 
lieve that she would return the 
feeling ; but something came in the 
way: you know what I mean. I 
would not marry my cousin now, 



supposing she would still care to 
take me, even were I in despair at 
not being able to gain what my 
heart is set upon. Hilda, I don't 
want to make much of the sacrifice, 
such as it is. After all, there is not 
much sacrifice involved in giving 
up what costs too much to keep. 
Biesides, it is only stripping myself 
of what is adventitious about my- 
self, that I can find out whether I 
have gained that which alone I 
prize, to be loved for my own sake. 
Hilda," he continued, in a voice 
hoarse with emotion, his words 
coming with difficulty, "beggared 
as I am, and with nothing but my- 
self to offer, I shall deem myself 
still rich beyond count if I have 
gained that which I seek." 

Still she did not speak. But he 
needed no answer in words. Her 
face was now turned upwards to- 
wards his, and the frank loving 
glance she gave him told him all. 
It seemed to say that his sacrifice 
should be repaid. This sweet and 
tender creature, whose virtues and 
graces he had come to know so 
well, had given him her heart in 
return for hie. 

He longed to seize her in his 
arms, to allow himself one lovei^s 
embrace, but was kept back by the 
knowledge that even yet she might 
turn from him with horror. He 
had not yet told her all. She 
should not have cause to feel sul- 
lied by even one kiss, till she gave 
it of her own free will, knowing 
all. 

"But do you realise all that is 
implied in this?" he continued, in 
a low earnest voice, looking at her 
fondly, but still standing in his < 'd 
place. " It means absolute b< ;- 
gary. I have not saved a shillir ^. 
What an idiot I have been, to »e 
sure, not to have put by my incoi le 
while it was mine ! I should ha 'e 
saved quite enough by this time i >r 
my simple wants. But I went c 3, 



1881.] 



The Private Secretary.^ Part IX. 



55 



liying in a fool's paradise of vacu- 
ity. Becaase my cousin and her 
femily were abroad, I put off look- 
ing my fate in the face. Something, 
I thought, when I thought about it 
at all, might turn up to alter the 
coarse of things, something has 
turned up. And now, haying drawn 
a bill on futurity, it has to be met, 
and I have not saved a shilling, 
and am quite incapable of earning 
my livelihood. Am I too to be 
supported by your exertions ? And 
where will you bestow themf 
Where will you find another em- 
ployer, when I am no longer able 
to employ you myself) A pretty 
pass I have brought things to, truly, 
by my indolence and folly !'* 

Hilda sat still, save for the nerv- 
ous movement of her folded hands. 
Her face was now turned away, 
and she looked wearily before her. 
The transient feeling of delight had 
passed away — her heart was full of 
love and pity and despair. She 
could not say that he must not 
make the sacrifice. She could not 
counsel him to save his fortune by 
the only way open to him ; yet the 
announcement of his ruin crushed 
out of her the joy of having gained 
his love. Hilda was no longer a 
romantic girl The stern ordeal 
she had undergone had laid bare 
only too clearly the grim hardships 
of poverty. She could not say to 
him, — Take me, and together we 
will face the world. She knew by 
bitter experience all the degrada- 
tion and the mean shifts involved 
in trying to live without means. 
Poverty for gentlefolks, she knew, 
meant duns and insolence to en- 
>unter, and want of proper food 
id clothing. She could not let 
m burden himself with her. 
ren her own means of living 
smed crumbling away. And 
mpared with the ills of actual 
Terty, how small appeared the 
mbles caused by mere family 



jars! Her present home, once so 
distasteful, looked like a haven of 
perfect happiness compared with 
the drear prospect now dimly 
facing her. As these thoughts 
coursed through her mind, she 
could not find words of comfort or 
consolation for her lover or herself. 

Clifford still remained standing 
silent and apart. Presently he said, 
" There is yet one way of escape." 

Hilda started and looked up at 
him. Her bright glance gave him 
hope. 

" I have not told you all," he 
said, " or rather, you have not yet 
been able to infer all that is implied 
in the position. Hilda, if you marry 
me, you marry a beggar. And yet 
that I should marry the one woman 
who alone could avert beggary is 
more than ever impossible, after 
what I have learnt of your heart. 
Now I am pledged to you for ever. 
And oh, Hilda, dearest, think how 
much is implied in this ! What a 
change your presence here has made 
in my life! Before you came to 
light up the house, all was dull and 
gloomy. I busied myself in a way, 
but my life was really flat and in- 
sipid — how much so I never fully 
understood till now. I did my 
day's task ; but it was a task. But 
your coming here changed every- 
thing. It was not the first day, or 
the second, that the change came 
about. Have I not said that till 
lately my thoughts were turned 
another way 1 But latterly I have 
been wholly loyal to you as you 
gradually took possession of me. 
Do you know how I have listened 
day by day for the sound of your 
footstep on the stairs, as you came 
to lighten up my gloomy house? 
Every minute passed with you has 
been happiness, as I came to know 
you better and better. A husband, 
I think, could not know his wife 
better than I know you, and I have 
dared to hope that the time might 



56 



The Private Secretary. — Purt IX. 



[July 



come when, instead of seeing yoa 
for a few minutes in the day, and 
making all these pretexts and pre- 
tences for being with you, you 
would not have to come and go, 
but you would be here always, 
mine by day and night — all reserve 
between us removed : you mine 
in everything, and I yours, to be 
scolded and ordered about in your 
own pretty way, and no question 
of salary or gratitude between us. 
Gratitude ! tlie gratitude would be 
all mine. And then, perhaps, 
while I grew fonder and fonder of 
you — for my love would always in- 
crease and never tire — you might 
come to give me the same sort of 
warm love in return. To think of 
all this happiness, and yet to feel 
that I am painting a picture of what 
can never happen, unless ** 

Hilda rose by a sudden impulse, 
and placing her hands on his shoul- 
ders, rested her head against his 
face. 

" Can it be," thought the enrap- 
tured lover, as he^ folded her in his 
arms, *' that she really gives herself 
to mel But there must be no 
misunderstanding or mistake. Per- 
haps even now, in her innocence, 
she does not understand me. Lis- 
ten, my dearest," he said, releasing 
her and then taking her hands in 
his, while he looked at her with 
ardent glances, *' I have still some- 
thing to say ; I have not told you 
all. If I marry any one but my 
cousin, every shilling I have goes 
to her; but if I do not marry, I 
have still something left, not very 
much, but still something — enough 
to live upon, — more than sufficient 
for my modest wants.'' 

Hilda, whose face had been 
averted while he was opeaking, 
looked up at him now with a glance 
in which joy and grief were blended. 
** Then you are saved ! " she cried. 
" Oh, Mr CUfford ! oh, Robert, I 
am so glad, so very glad — for you." 



Then she looked down again, 
away from him. 

'■' For me, Hilda ! Why for mo 
only) Have you nothing to say 
for yourself 1" 

" I could not wish you to marry 
your — where your heart is not 
given," she answered, speaking 
with difficulty, her modest eyes 
still averted. '^ I am selfish enough 
not to wish to see you married to 
another woman — at least not just 
now. But you are saved from ac- 
tual poverty, and I know what a 
dreadful thing that is. You will 
live to get over your feeling for 
me," she added, withdrawing the 
hands which he had still been 
clasping. "And for myself," she 
continued, looking round at him 
and trying to smile, " I must try 
and be brave. I believe," said 
poor Hilda, ^*I was not made to 
be happy." 

" But is there no other alterna- 
tive 1" he cried, and his voice was 
thick and hoarse with passion and 
excitement. " We love each other; 
we are both free ; we are both lonely ; 
and you know me well enough to 
trust me. HUda, darling, may we 
not be united in heart and feeling, 
and every real bond save the for- 
mal one 1 Why should we be apart 
when we might live together in 
mutual trust and confidence f I 
can know no happiness without 
you, were I to live for ever." 

Clififord had rightly guessed that 
this proposal would not arouse in 
his companion any outburst of in- 
dignation. She must know him 
well enough to be sure that he 
would never subject her to any 
outward degradation, and that 
she gave herself to him there nee 
be no loss of self-respect beyon- 
what was inevitable in such a coj 
nection. Still he could not 1 
certain how the proposal would I 
received, and as he finished speak 
ing he looked eagerly towards he? 



I88h] 



The Private Secretary.-— Puiir IX. 



57 



to see what had been the effect 
of his words. 

Hilda's answer was given bj the 
expression of her face. She did 
not look at him, or speak, she only 
shook her head sadly. 

" Hilda, I implore you," he cried 
passionately, " don't refose to listen 
to me ; anything bat that. I have 
frightened you, perhaps ; I have 
heen too quick ; but I don't want 
to harry you. I am too much in 
earnest to care that you should 
decide all at once. Take time over 
it. Only don't say * no ' at once. 
By heavens, Hilda ! " he cried, as 
she made a gesture of dissent, '^ you 
shall not refuse me. The happiness 
of both of us requires that you 
should listen to my prayer. The 
sacrifice ia all on your side, I know ; 
hut still, my great love must count 
for something. By heavens, Hilda ! 
yoa must and shall yield to it," and 
he rushed forward to seize her in 
his arms. 

But Hilda retreated a step back- 
vaids, and stopped him with out- 
stretched hands. *' Ko, Robert, 
dear," she said tenderly, and with- 
out expressing the fear she felt, 
*'do not be unjust to yourself. 
Remember that I am in your house, 
and under your protection. Do 
not be nnlike yourself." 

"You are right, Hilda, as you 
always are," he answered, dropping 



his arms as she released them, and 
standing ashamed and penitent 
before her : " I feel that I am in 
a false position in pleading before 
you here. I wish I could have 
spoken anywhere else, in some place 
where we might be as equals. 
Equals ! We can never be equals ! 
You will always be my superior. 
You are as good and wise as you 
aie beautiful. But you cannot sur- 
pass me in the power of loving. 
What can I say more to make you 
hearken to mel" 

Just then the sound of the hall- 
door opening made them both turn 
and look that way. It was one of 
the servants coming in. The door 
was shut again, and she could be 
heard passing into the kitchen. 

''There is no time to say more 
now, Hilda," continued Clififord, 
after a pause, ''but I won't take 
your denial in this way, there is too 
much involved in it. You shall 
not commit yourself by saying any- 
thing now." 

But Hilda gave him a sorrowful 
look, and opening the door, passed 
swiftly out and sought her own 
room. Clifford remained stand- 
ing where she had left him for a 
short time only, and then rushed 
out of the house to find in exer- 
cise an outlet for his pent - up 
feelings. When he returned, Hilda 
had gone. 



CHAPTER XXX. 



Hilda had time to regain her 
composure before she set out home- 
wards. And the prosaic scene of 
le railway station served as an 
Tectoal antidote to the emotion she 
id just gone through. Indeed, as 
e sat, one of several passengers in 
e railway carriage, in the after- 
K)n train down to Eainham, she 
und it difficult to realise the 
ene she had just gone through, 



still less to take in the full import 
of the change which had suddenly 
been wrought in her life. But 
feeling instinctively that there 
would be plenty of time before her 
to think over the past as well as 
the future, she strove, and to a 
certain extent effectually, to put 
the present aside, and to keep her 
thoughts closed to it Of one 
thing she was very conscious : she 



68 



The Private Secretary. — Part JX. 



[July 



had always felt that the st range 
situation in which she had found 
herself was too unreal and artificial 
to last. But now that the bubhle 
had burst, she would at least live 
on for a few hours with senses 
dulled before indulging in the lux- 
ury of grief, or applying herself 
to the practical business of facing 
the future. 

She found no one at home but 
Martha the maid. And now as 
she sat down to rest awhile after 
her walk from the station, there 
was nothing to occupy her atten- 
tion, or prevent her mind from 
reverting to the events of the morn- 
ing. But no ! If her thoughts 
turned to Clifford, there would be 
the danger of dwelling on the 
sacrifice which he had made for her 
sake. She must never allow her- 
self to admit the possibility of 
even considering his proposition. 
She must strive for the present 
to maintain her condition of men- 
tal stupor, and rising, she went 
down-stairs to help Martha to get 
ready the evening meaL And 
suffering Martha's tongue to run 
on as the two worked together in 
the little kitchen — an opportunity 
which the honest maid took full 
advantage of — she was able to keep 
her own attention from dwelling on 
herself. 

The evening wore on, and still 
her father did not come home. He 
had gone up by the next train after 
Hilda's, Martha said ; he told her 
that he had an important appoint- 
ment to keep in town. He was 
looking quite smart, with a hand- 
bag, and a beautiful bouquet of 
flowers which the young man from 
the flower-shop brought just as he 
was starting. The young man 
carried the bag for him to the 
station. Just now Hilda missed 
him more than she might otherwise 
have done ; although she was sen- 
sible of the comfort of being alone, 



and that her father had of late been 
less of a companion than every his 
presence would have given her a 
sense of protection of which in the 
present state of her nerves she felt 
the need greatly. She would not, 
however, delay the serving of the 
simple evening meal, knowing that 
her father usually had plenty of 
refreshment when making excur- 
sions with his new friend. But 
although she sent Martha to bed at 
the usual hour, after the house had 
been locked up for the night, sLe 
sat up herself till after the last train 
from town had come in without 
bringing him. 

Sound is the sleep of youth and 
health, even when sorrow and care 
sit on the pillow, ready to ob- 
trude themselves when the sleeper 
awakes. But it was not immed iate- 
ly on waking that the events of the 
previous day came back to Hilda's 
recollection, and that she remem- 
bered, too, that her father had not 
come home. Then there retnined 
to her the dull feeling that a great 
calamity had to be faced, — that the 
life which had of late been so 
sweet was now ended, and the 
future all drear and uncertain. 
But for a little longer, at any rate, 
would she put off facing the inevi- 
table problem. It was Sunday; 
for this day at least would she 
keep herself from thinking how she 
was to get food and clothing for 
herself and her father, and what 
must be done for little Arthur. 
The sun was high in the heavens 
when she awoke, and the morning 
bright and warm, the fine summer 
weather still holding on; and as 
Hilda looked at herself in the glas^ 
she was fain to admit that cai 
had not yet dimmed her eyes, o 
robbed her cheek of its bloom. " I 
it true," she thought, " that I ai 
really as pretty as he says I am 
But no ! that thought must be pv 
away altogether. He has made i 



1881.] 



The Private 8ecretanj.--Part IX. 



59 



impossible for me to allow myself 
to think about bim." 

She was still at her toilet when 
Martha came up, bringing a letter 
which she said she thought was in 
master's handwriting. It was ; and 
HQda with a natural feeling of 
anxiety, and divining by instinct 
that it contained some important 
announcement, sat down on the 
edge of the bed to read it. 

"My dear Hilda," it began, 
" although extremely busy, I write 
a hurried line to announce to you 
my marriage this morning to the 
lady who, you are aware, has lately 
been engaging a large share of my 
attention. I have been sensible for 
some time that my children did not 
value their father's society; they 
can hardly be surprised that he 
should seek for sympathy from the 
gentle and appreciative disposition 
of one who values him for his own 
sake. Reasons which I will not 
now go into rendered it expedient 
to make the marriage a private on<>, 
and to carry it out as speedily as 
possible, to relieve Mrs Baker — as 
my dear Mary Ann was called till 
this morning — from the embarras- 
sing situation in which she found 
herself, and from the insidious ad- 
dresses of designing persons, which 
could be effectually repelled only 
by a husband's protection. We 
start this afternoon for Boulogne, 
as Mary Ann has always bad a 
great desire — hitherto ungratified 
— to see foreign countries. And 
our stay abroad will be a little un- 
certain ; but I need not say that I 
shall look forward to the earliest 
opportunity of introducing my re- 
maining children to their new 
namma, and I am sure they will 
^ve her a fitting welcome, as much 
'>ii my account as on her own. 
IToar step - mother is no longer 
foang, and would not perhaps ap- 
pear clever to you who have had 



such advantages in the way of edu- 
cation ; but she has an affectionate 
and sympathising disposition, and 
is most favourably disposed to- 
wards you. I will just add that 
our speedy nuptials having ren- 
dered regular marriage settlements 
impossible, I have not attempted to 
control my Mary Ann's own dis- 
position of her quarterly jointure ; 
but I am sure you will feel with 
me that there would be an obvious 
indelicacy in suggesting an imme- 
diate application to her purse, as 
it has already had a heavy call ftr 
the special licence. I am obliged, 
therefore, to leave my little account 
with you undischarged, but this I 
am in hopes will not cause incon- 
venience. After all, it is merely a 
very remunerative investment of a 
little capital. Should you be in 
any temporary difficulty, I am sure 
your generous employer would make 
you an advance of salary. — In great 
haste, ever your affectionate father, 
"William Keid. 
"P./8f.— I think of letting the 
cottage, as the extreme quiet of 
Rainham would never suit my 
dear Mary Ann, who is fond of 
excitement and cheerful society. 
But of course you need not be in 
any hurry about turning out." 

Although the announcement sur- 
prised her, coming so soon and so 
suddenly, Hilda had not been able 
to avoid the suspicion that her 
father was meditating something 
of the kind ; and it would be only 
in accordance with his weak dis- 
position that he should commit 
himself privately in this way. Kor 
was she blind to other points in his 
character ; but the mingled feeble- 
ness and heartlessness of the letter 
came to lacerate anew a heart still 
sore and craving for sympathy. 
True, her father would have been 
a burden and not a support, and 
would have added to the difficulty 



60 



TJie Private Secretary, — Part IX, 



[July 



of bei penniless position; still it 
would have been a real comfort in 
her present forlorn condition to 
have some one who knew her at 
hand ; not to be so thoroughly 
alone in the world as she now 
seemed to be. Then unbidden 
would come up the thought that 
she need not be alone if she chose. 
But no ! that thought mu&t be 
sternly put aside. She must not 
at any cost admit the possibility of 
consenting to the proposal her lover 
had made. Crushed and weary, 
Hilda descended to the little par- 
lour to her solitary breakfast. She 
had not the heart, in reply to 
Martha's inquiries what was the 
news from master, to tell her the 
whole truth ; she merely said that 
he had gone to Fiance for a few 
days, and it was not quite certain 
when he would be back. But the 
maid could see from Hilda's manner 
that something was amiss. 

^Now came the long day, and 
Hilda afterwards remembered but 
dimly how she got through it. The 
bells were ringing for church, but 
Hilda knew no consolation in that 
direction. When living abroad 
with her aunt and uncle they had 
seldom attended any service?, and 
at home there was the same neglect. 
Hilda's family and Hilda herself 
differed from a great many of her 
own class merely in not making 
any pretence of having any reli- 
[;ion ; whereas the religious pro- 
fession of such people is limited to 
going to church once a-week, with- 
out even pretending to pi ay when 
there, as if their attendance was 
rather a concession to public opin- 
ion than of any efficacy in itself, 
Hilda and the rest of the house- 
hold, except Martha, with whom it 
was the one holiday and excitement 
of the week, never went at all. 
Hilda could not find any consola- 
tion in believing that she was 
singled out for misfortune by the 



goodness of Providence ; she conld 
not fall back on any higher feeling 
than a sense of duty. Just now she 
felt unfit for any mental process: 
she sat in the little drawing-room 
looking out idly into the garden. 

The day wore on, and, first time 
for many days, became overcast. 
The dull overshadowed afternoon 
seemed to reflect her own condi- 
tion, deserted as she was by all 
her family. Harry would now be 
nearly out of the ChanneL Even 
Arthur had left her, and for the 
moment the thought of the child's 
happiness, contrasted with her own 
desolation, struck her with a sense 
of bitterness. But a healthier feel- 
ing soon succeeded. Poor little 
Arthur, his good fortune would be 
but short-lived ! let him at least be 
happy for a time. For him, too, 
like herself, a change of life was 
impending. Then, her thoughts 
having turned to her little brother, 
she began to feel a longing to see 
him again. The sight of his loving 
face would be some consolation in 
her desolate condition. And why 
should she not go and see him] 
There would be a train to Rich- 
mond in about an hour, and one 
to bring her back in the evening. 
Yes; anything would be better 
than sitting here, and she was ris- 
ing from her chair, when a sound 
suddenly arrested her movement, 
and she sank down helpless. It 
was the sound of a footstep, heard 
. plainly in the still summer after- 
noon — a step she would have re- 
cognised anywhere, ifow it stops 
at the gate, and as Clifford entering 
the garden, walked up the path, 
Hilda, so firm yesterday, sits as f 
paralysed, unable to stir. 

Clifford saw her as he advanced 
and that she was alone. It wai 
merely a step from the garden int< 
the room by the open window. 
Another, and he was standing be 
fore her. 



1881.] 



The Private Secretary. --Part IX. 



61 



She could not refuse the hand of 
greeting which he held out, and 
something in his manner reassured 
her. He had recovered his com- 
posure, and it was plain that he 
was desirous of effacing the im- 
pression created hy his conduct of 
ihe previous day. Clifford, indeed, 
had come resolved to place a strong 
control over himself, and strove 
hard to efface all appearance of the 
lover. He hardly touched the 
fingers which she gave him, and 
did not even confront her eyes 
with his, as he seated himself 
opposite to her, and striving to 
appear unembarrassed in manner, 
asked if her father were at home. 
Hilda replied that he was away, 
hardly^ — she scarcely knew why — 
liking to make the avowal. ''I 
am come," he said presently, "to 
find out something about which I 
am uneasy. I have been a little 
anxious lest you should not return 
to yonr duties to-morrow, but I 
would not wait till to-morrow to 
l^'am your intention. How is iti 
You did mean that, I see. Well, 
then, it is best to have the matter 
out with you. You know, of course, 
that you are not at liberty to break 
off without due notice, and equally, 
of course, that I should not place 
the matter on that ground. But I 
want you to consider what is right 
and proper, apart from considera- 
tions of my convenience, although, 
of course, it would be extremely in- 
convenient to be without the ser- 
vices of my secretary." 

He said this in something like 
his old playful tone, which re- 
assured her still more. "I shall 
* very sorry indeed to put you 
3 inconvenience," she replied ; " I 
Duld do anything rather than 
lat — that is, anything possible." 
Tere she stopped, in confusion. 
bis was not at all how she ought 
have received him. 
"Never mind my conveni»'nce,'' 



he replied. I want you to con- 
sider the thing from a business 
point of view, although I should 
never forgive myself if I drove 
you to lose or give up your situa- 
tion. You are clever enough for 
anything, of course ; but you know 
how difficult it is to find suitable 
employment, and you have not 
only yourself to consider, there is 
your father." 

" My father is provided for," she 
said, sorrowfully; "he was married 
this morning." She had the letter 
in her hand, and held it up as she 
spoke by an involuntary movement, 
of which she at once repented, as 
well as of her speech, when she 
saw the eager and triumphant ex- 
pression of his face. It was mo- 
mentary, however. Clifford recov- 
ered his composure at once. 

"This is surely unexpected?" 
he asked. " Come, Hilda, tell me 
something about it ; I can see that 
the news has been a surprise." 
And Hilda in a few words made 
him acquainted with the facts. 
She could not help this, although 
she felt instinctively that she ought 
not to make a confidant of him, 
he was so full of interest and 
aympathy ; and her manner of tell- 
ing the brief tale, betrayed the pain 
caused by her father's conduct. 

"He has not treated you well, 
certainly," Clifford observed ; " but 
I cannot see that it is a bad thing 
on the whole;" — to him, indeed, 
the news was delightful — "one 
heavy burden is removed from you ; 
but you have still to support your- 
self, if you are quite resolved about 
leaving your present employment. 
Have you thought how this is to 
be done 1" 

"I suppose I shall go out as a 
governess. I ought not to have 
much difficulty in finding a sit- 
uation." 

"True," replied Cliff'ord; and 
his heart sank as he recognised the 



62 



The Private Secrdari/.—Purt IX, 



[July 



feasibility of this. "But what 
will you do wiih Arthur? You 
have him. still on your hands 1" 

Both of them by tacit agreement 
seemed to put on one side the sup- 
position that Captain Reid would for 
the present provide for any one but 
himself. 

"No, you have not," he con- 
tinued. "I am only joking, of 
course ; you know me well enough 
to be sure that I am not likely to 
want to forego the responsibility 
I have undertaken for him. You 
can't want your little brother to 
suffer on your account; you must 
be satisfied to let him continue to 
be my charge. Nor can you help 
my continuing to pay you your 
salary until you are able to support 
yourself. Now, surely, you will 
not be satisfied to hold this posi- 
tion? If our old relations are to 
be broken off, let us at least con- 
sider how we stand as a matter of 
business. Remember that you are 
still my secretary till the engage- 



ment is formally concluded. Come, 
Hilda," he continued, noticing the 
effect of his words, "you see that 
I am my sober self again, and you 
are a woman of sense if ever there 
was one ; come and take a walk, 
and let us discuss the thing in a 
business-like way. You have not 
been out to-day, I see; a walk 
will do you good." 

Hilda caught gladly at this ; she 
would feel freer and safer in the 
open air; and rising from her chair, 
she went up-stairs to get her hat. 
No other preparation was required 
on this sultry day, and she came 
down directly. "But you had 
better bring an umbrella/' he said, 
as they were passing out of the 
little hall, "for it looks like rain ; 
let me carry this one for yon. 
This is the Captain's, I suppose; 
he has had so much to think of 
he has forgotten to take it with 
him." Hilda smiled; it was the 
first smile she had given him, re- 
minding him of her old self. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 



They passed down the lane to 
the river, and then took the tow- 
path by the bank. There were a 
good many people strolling along 
it, dressed in their Sunday clothes, 
and several boats on the water. 

The bells of Eainham church 
began to ring for afternoon ser- 
vice. 

"Hilda," observed Clifford, "you 
never go to church ; you are like 
me in that respect. You have been 
baptised, no doubt, but you are not 
practically a Christian. Only there 
is this difference between us ; I am 
an unbeliever because I can't help 
myself; you are one, just as so 
many others are, because you have 
never thought about the matter 
one way or the other." 

Hilda looked up at him to see 



what he meant, without replyinj, 
and he went on — 

" I don't scoff at Christianity, be 
it observed ; I wish I could believe 
in it, I should be happier and bet- 
ter. And I am not in the least 
proud of my unbelief; I sim ply- 
feel an incapacity for belief — that 
is, for dogmatic Christianity as 
generally accepted. And very sony 
I should be to see the rest of my 
countrymen sharing my opinions. 
It would be an evil day for Eng- 
land if ever that came to pass ; fo 
whether Christianity be true o 
not, I am sure it makes the world 
better and happier. The workinj 
classes, it is true, have most oj 
them no religion to speak of, but 
they get the benefit of the reflected 
Christianity of other people ; and 



1881.] 



Tlie Private Secretary. ^Part IX, 



63 



that, and the arm of the law, keep 
them in order, otherwise we should 
be in had case. My friends the 
Bryants are jast like yon, except 
that they go to church on Sunday 
mornings, when it is fine, as a sort 
of fetich, and to avoid scandalisicg 
their neighhours; otherwise they 
are perfect heathens, and never 
give religion a thought from one 
week's end to the other. But they, 
too, get the benefit of other people's 
Christianity : the rector dines with 
them frequently, and the curate 
comes to lawn- tennis almost every 
afternoon. The girls are very nice, 
bat they would be nicer still if 
their condact was guided by some- 
thing higher than mere custom 
and convention. So that, you see, 
HUda, feeling for you as you know 
I do— I shall not frighten you by 
saying so much — I should admire 
you still more if you were a re- 
L'gioos woman, and I should be 
glad to see you different in this 
respect, under ordinary circum- 
stances. Just now I am selfish 

enough ^" 

He stopped speaking here, as 
they were just passing a man and 
his wife sauntering {Jong with a 
family of children, the man carry- 
ing a baby. After they had passed 
this party, their attention was 
diverted by a steam-launch coming 
np the river at a great pace, and 
making a great wash. It was just 
passing a man in a skiff. Some- 
body called out that the skiff 
wocdd be swamped, and they stop- 
ped involuntarily to see the result. 
The skiff escaped, and thoy con- 
tinued their walk. Then he began 
^in. 

"Have you ever thought how 
iriously the marriage ceremony 
iries in different countries and 
aong different peoples ? " 
"Robert," said Hilda, with down- 
st eyes, speaking for the first 
me, and hurrying her steps in- 



stinctively, " to what purpose is all 
thisl" 

" Why, surely, my meaning must 
be plain. In all and each of these 
cases the ceremony is nothing in 
itself. It is of importance only as 
it gives the wife and husband cer- 
tain rights, and prevents the hus- 
band from ill-using or deserting the 
wife. In many countries there is 
nothing solemn, still less sacred, 
about the institution in itself. The 
religious part of the ceremony is a 
mere tag to the legal contract, and 
doesn't render it at all more bind- 
ing. The religious sanction has 
value only for the religious. The 
marriages best observed, as those 
of the patriarchs, were not cele- 
brated by any formalities at all. 
The tie in that case was one of 
simple confidence. And nothing 
can be more matter-of-fact than an 
English marriage before a registrar. 
If all men were good and kind and 
honest, there would be no need to 
bind them by legal ties — the bond 
of love and honesty would be suflS- 
cient. Such a man would not need 
a legal bond to make him true and 
faithful to the woman who had 
given him her confidence." 

"There is a storm coming," in- 
terrupted Hilda, looking up; "I 
think we had better be turning." 

Clifford, too, looked round him. 
The sky had grown blacker, and 
just then a flash of lightning and 
the roll of thunder proclaimed the 
approach of the storm. . Hilda 
turned, and he was fain to turn 
too, and they began to walk home- 
wards. 

"Because you make me cut short 
what I have to say, Hilda," he said 
presently, " it is, I hope, that you 
understand my meaning, and will 
listen to my prayer 1" 

" Oh, Eobert," she replied, in a 
tone of distress, and again hasten- 
ing her steps, "why speak any 
more of what can never be?" 



6i 



The Prioate Secretary. — Port IX. 



[July 



Clifford did not answer her at 
once. They were again overtaking 
the family they had passed before, 
and were themselves overtaken by 
others hurrying home: they were 
not sufficiently alone for him to 
pour out the fulness of his heart. 
Now they came to the lane which 
led up from the river to Hilda's 
cottage, unoccupied, as they turned 
into it, by any save themselves. 
He stopped, and taking her hand, 
made her stop too. 

"Hear me out, Hilda dear," he 
said, in a low yet earnest voice. 
*' My happiness is so bound up in 
you that I cannot let you go till 
you have heard my whole case." 

"Dear Robert," said Hilda, 
pleadingly, " why go on this way 1 
Why set your heart on what you 
ought to know is impossible 1 '' 

"But why is it impossible? If 
you were surrounded with friends 
and relations, who would take the 
conventional view, and deem you 
disgraced by coming to share my 
fortunes, do you think I do not 
love you too well to ask you to 
do what would lower you in their 
eyes? It is because you are alone 
in the world, like myself, and worse 
than alone, with worthless relatives 
from whom you should be glad to 
escape, and having only yourself to 
think of, that I ask you to make 
me happy, and yourself happy too. 
For I believe you love me a little, 
though not as I love you. Come, 
Hilda, it is not such a dreadful fate." 

Hilda, with averted eyes, shook 
her head sadly. 

" Then perhaps it is that you do 
not love me after alii And I have 
befooled myself and persecuted you 
for nothing 1 " 

Hilda looked at him gently and 
sorrowfully. "You know it is not 
that, Robert: you have my whole 
heart; why not be satisfied with 
that, and let me go, thinking the 
best of mel" 



"There it is. I want to think 
the best of you ; to think of you as 
gentle, and loving, and trustful." 

"But you would despise me, 
nevertheless ; not just now per- 
haps, but by -and -by, when your 
fancy " 

" Fancy ! Hilda, is this the way 
you jest with my love? You can- 
not be in earnest to speak like tba^ 
You know that I am not light and 
fickle. If I thought it possible 
that the time should ever come 
when I should love and cherish 
and respect you a whit less than 
if you were my wedded wife, why 
then, dearly as I love you, I would 
not ask for you. But you know 
there is no fear of this ; you know 
that you can trust me. You know 
in your heart that I should show 
my sense of your sacrifice by greater 
and fuller respect." 

" But I could not respect myself. 
Please let me go, Robert," she 
added, trying to withdraw her 
hands. 

"There you are again," he cried 
eagerly, and still holding her, "with 
your conventional notions. A wo- 
man sells herself to a man she is 
indifferent to, or even despises, and 
because the sale of her person is 
legalised, and made the subject of 
a religious ceremony, forsootli, per- 
formed over the contract, it is hon- 
ourable and respectable. This, if 
you like, is a mere concession to 
the requirements of society — some- 
thing to be ashamed of — legalised 
dishonour, which goes on every day. 
If my cousin had sold herself to me, 
as she was minded to, and I had 
bought her, there would indeed 
have been real loss of self-resper ;. 
Marriage without love must alwa s 
be immodest and disgraceful, if y< a 
look at the thing rightly ; but tbe^ e 
will be nothing to feel shame f r 
in such a union as ours, based c i 
mutual love and confidence." 

The lightning flashed round thei i, 



1881.] 



The Private Secretary. — Part IX, 



65 



And the peals of thander came nearer 
and louder. Hilda looked round, 
anxious and scared. 

"Ifay," said he, releasing her 
hand, ^*if you fear the storm, Hilda, 
I will not detain you ; but you are 
close at home; there is time to gain 
shelter if the rain comes. But oh, 
Hilda, do not cast me off rashly ! 
Think how much is at stake for 
both of us ! I will not persecute 
you or come again. I will take my 
answer now ; but oh, pray, be wise 
and kind — do not crush all hope 
out of me ! We should be so happy 
together ; we shall be so miserable 
apart! Again, I say, I know and 
appreciate the sacrifice I ask you to 
make j but if you love me as I love 
yoQ, you will not esteem the sacri- 
fice too great." 

''But I am not alone," pleaded 
Hilda, "there is my brother; think 
how he would despise me when he 
grows up." 

"What would he know about 
it?" said her lover eagerly, her 
hesitation raising an ecstatic throb 
of hope in his breast ; '' we should 
he as man and wife in his eyes, 
as we should be before the world. 
Who would know our secret ? We 
should not stay here, of course ; we 
would go away abroad, to America, 
anywhere, so long as we were to- 
gether : but we would take Arthur 
with us; the boy would look on 
me as a brother." 

"But have you thought," said 
Hilda, blushing, ''that there may 
be others whose disgrace would 

follow from — from their ". 

" Their mother ? Hilda, darling, 
do you think that I have not 
chought with rapture that you might 
be the mother of my children] 
fou speak of disgrace ; but where 
Tould they be worse than their 
atherl Hilda, is it possible you 
lo not know that I am an illcgiti- 
nate son myself] But ah! how 
lifferent was my case ! Eeally 

VOL. CXXX. — NO. DCCLXXXIX. 



born in shame; the mother kept 
away and visited in secret, the son 
never publicly acknowledged, and 
brought up under an assumed name ! 
Why, then, should I care for the 
conventions of society ? With you 
it is different ; and yet the sacrifice 
is not all on one side. I still keep 
part of my fortune although re- 
nouncing my cousin; that is, so 
long as I do not marry before her, 
I am legally entitled to it. But do 
you not see that in proposing such 
a union with you as I have dared 
to build my happiness upon, I feel 
myself to be taking advantage of 
a mere quibble? I should be in 
my own eye retaining everything I 
could wish for, yet practically evad- 
ing the conditions of the will. I 
say nothing of the sacrifice of the 
bulk of my fortune, and with it the 
abandonment of all my schemes of 
life, because, even if I had never 
met you, I think the condition of 
marrying my cousin would have 
been too great a price to pay for 
keeping it ; but it is something for 
a man who is perhaps a little sen- 
sitive on such points to feel for the 
rest of his life that he is holding 
the property which he does retain 
on terms which do not appear 
honourable to himself." 

Hilda turned her face towards 
him for an instant. He thought 
he could detect a look of uncertainty 
and hesitation. Could it be that 
he had convinced her at last, and 
that she was yielding ] 

There was silence for a minute 
while he stood eagerly scanning the 
expression of her now averted face. 
It was first broken by Hilda, 

Her reply, undeceiving him, 
dashed away his hopes. " You 
speak of sacrifices," she said, sadly ; 
" I cannot vie with you in nobility 
of aim, but think at least of what 
I am sacrificing too for what you 
must know to be right. I say 
nothing of myself, and what I am 



66 



The Private Secretary.— Part IX. 



[July 



giving up, and no doubt I shall be 
able to earn a living in some way ; 
but is it nothing to have deprived 
my poor little brother of so good a 
friend r' 

" But you have not deprived 
him," cried Clifford. " Do you sup- 
pose for a moment that I would 
allow any consideration of your 
material comfort to affect your de- 
cision? that I would tempt you 
with the prospect of a life of ease 
combined with what you persist in 
thinking to be vice on the one side, 
contrasted with a life of want and 
hardship combined with virtue on 
the other ? Vice and virtue indeed ! 
I did think that you would rise 
superior to such conventions. No, 
Hilda, whether you take me or not, 
half my remaining small fortune is 
yours in any case ; and a part goes 
on to your little brother Arthur if 
you die before he is grown up and 
started in life. So much is settled 
in any case. The deed is not 
actually drawn, but the lawyers 
have got my instructions. So you 
cannot escape out of the difficulty 
in that way, consoling yourself with 
the belief that you have purchased 
the unhappiness of both of us by a 
great sacrifice. There is only one 
sacrifice asked of you, or possible for 
you, such as it is, to me a priceless 
bounty — the gift of your own sweet 
self. Hilda, dearest, surely you 
will never refuse me this 1 " 

As he finished speaking, the dark 
clouds above them were suddenly 
loosened, and poured down a deluge 
of rain. Hilda stood irresolute for 
an instant and then ttirned towards 
the house. 

" Yes, that will be best," he said, 
hastily; "you must not stay here 
to get wet. Here, come under this 
shelter," and he opened the umbrella 
and held it over her. 



A few steps brought them to th» 
garden-gate. He opened it for her, 
and she passed in, and then turned 
round towards him as he was about 
to follow. 

" No," he said, as if divining her 
intention to stop him. "I don't 
want to come farther with you to- 
day. Give me only one little word 
of comfort, Hilda, and I will leave 
you and hurry off to make ready 
for taking you away to new and 
happier scenes. Only one little 
word, Hilda darling," he added, 
but in a less hopeful voice, notic- 
ing with alarm the set expression 
of her face. 

"Oh, Kobert," she said, sadly, 
"I thought before you came that 
I could not be more unhappy than 
I was j but you have made me far 
more wretched now. You will be 
angry with me now, and think me 
hard and cruel ; but in time to come, 
perhaps, you will judge me more 
kindly, and say that I have done 
right." 

"I see what it is," he cried, 
bitterly, " I have been mistaken in 
you ; you do not really care for me 
as I do for you. It is easy to take 
this high tone where the heart is 
not in question." 

"Eobert, Eobert,'^ pleaded the 
poor girl, "why say such cruel 
things]" 

"Cruel! It is you who are 
cruel. What sort of love is this 
which wants all the sacrifice to 
be on one side? Farewell then, 
Hilda, since farewell it must be. 
I thought you to be soft and sweet 
and loving, but I have been carried 
away by my own fancies. You are 
really hard and selfish. You requir 
everything from me and will giv 
nothing in return." And he strode 
away in the storm, and turning the 
corner of the lane, was lost to view. 



1881.] 



The Private Secretary.— Part IX, 



67 



CHAPTER XXXII. 



" And I let him go," was her first 
thought, "without taking the urn- 
hrella, and he will have to sit in 
the train all the way to town, 
drenched to the skin ! So delicate 
as his chest is too ! AVell might 
he call me selfish;" and even in 
her distress Hilda could not help 
smiling at the turn her thoughts 
had taken. But soon there came 
hack in aU its bitterness the recollec- 
tion of what had passed. She had 
parted for ever from her one true 
friend, — her faithful, devoted, un- 
selfish lover, who had sacrificed 
wealth, and habits and pursuits, 
and cherished aims, all for her. 
And she would give him nothing 
in return ! And she went over and 
over i^in the particulars of the 
long meeting. Of course she had 
done right. But she could now 
measure the full extent of what it 
had cost her. Yet after all, what 
was the loss of happiness to her 
compared with his loss? She had 
won his heart and wrecked his 
fortunes. If she had not crossed 
his path, this blight would not have 
fallen on him. Then she thought 
what a noble nature her lover pos- 
seted, although he was unreason- 
able in this one respect — on the 
mixture of simplicity and shrewd- 
ness in his character; his playful 
ways and his serious aims; his 
true politeness, and, better still, his 
generous, sympathetic heart. He 
had been the benefactor of her 
family, their saviour from want. 
He had lifted one brother out of 
khe mire and set him on a clean 
^ay ; the other he would preserve 
rom going astray, and bring up to 
n honest and happy Ufe. Of her 
le asked only one thing in return, 
md that she would not give him. 
)he would shipwreck his happiness 
o save her own. No, not her own ; 



there could be no more happiness 
for her; she must in any case be 
miserable. And yet he wanted to 
continue his kindness to her and 
her brother. That, of course, was 
impossible. She could not accept 
any further favour from him, not 
even on Arthur's account. But 
will it be right to refuse it for the 
child? Is Aithur, too, to be sacri- 
ficed for me % Kobert and Arthur 
— both to be sacrificed to my 
scruples ! He says his life will 
have been shipwrecked by my re- 
fusal; his fortunes have been al- 
ready. In any case the greater 
sacrifice is on his side. Poor 
Eobert ! How can I prove my 
gratitude and devotion ! He would 
not respect me any longer, of course, 
if I do what he asks, although he 
thinks otherwise now. I should 
be degraded in his eyes as well as 
in my own, and he would soon 
come to feel this himself. But 
then this would be all the greater 
sacrifice. And is it not the woman's 
part to sacrifice herself for those 
she loves 1 Have not I been doing 
this ever since I came home 1 Has 
not my self-respect been lowered 
already, through no fault of my 
own 1 It will be merely one step 
lower from what I used to be. How 
changed I must be already ! Poor 
Bobert ! And this, he says, would 
make him happy. Am I truly as 
heartless and selfish as he says? 

In self- communings and retro- 
spections of this sort she passed 
the sleepless night, to get up hag- 
gard and weary in the morning. 
" If I go on changing at this rate," 
thought the poor girl, smiling 
sadly, as she looked at herself in 
the glass, " Robert would not care 
to press his suit for long. Poor 
Robert ! he, too, looked changed. 
He was not like himself to speak 



( 



68 



The Private Secretary, — Part IX, 



[July 



80 harshly — and I am the cause. 
He haa done everything for me and 
mine, and I do nothing for him. 
I must ruin him, or let myself be 
ruined." 

That afternoon Hilda paid a visit 
to Miss Pasco's school The boys 
were gone out with the governesses 
and the sergeant to play cricket in 
the park, the servant said — Miss 
Pasco was at home; but Hilda, 
shrinking from a meeting with her, 
left word that she would call again 
later, and went off in search of 
Arthur. The party was soon 
found, the noise made by the little 
fellows being a ready guide to the 
spot where they were assembled. 
AH were in high spirits, and all 
talking together at the top of their 
shrill voices. A game of cricket 
was going on under the superin- 
teiidence of the sergeant, but the 
fielders were not very steady, and 
the younger children were playing 
apart, near to where the two gover- 
nesses were sitting at needlework 
on a bench. Hilda was close upon 
Arthur before he saw her. His 
delight at her coming was as great 
as on the occasion of her first visit 
to Slaye. But there was no shed- 
ding of tears now — ^no pent-up feel- 
ings now burst out at the sight of 
the dear sister. Arthur was full 
of talk about the school and his 
school-fellows, and Miss Pasco, and 
Miss Playfair, and Miss Palmer, 
and, his first shyness having worn 
off, was full of childish praise about 
everything connected with the 
place. And Hilda, with a keen 
recollection of the dismal appear- 
ance the little fellow had presented 
at his last school, watched his happy 
face with mingled feelings of pride 
and self-abasement. 

The two had been taking a walk 
together, and were now approach- 
ing the house. " So, Arthur, dear," 
said his sister, stopping before the 



gate, " you would not like to leave 
Miss Pasco, who is so kind to you, 
and to go back to school at Slaye 1 " 

Arthur did not answer in words, 
but his face changed, and he gripped 
his sister's hand convulsively, by 
way of answer. 

" But suppose, Arthur dear, that 
I could not find the money to go on 
paying for you here, without being 
dishonest ) " 

" Do you pay for my schooling)" 
he asked, looking up inquiringly at 
her. '^ Miss Pasco said the gentle- 
man who brought me here paid for 
me, and that it was evident he was 
very sweet on somebody. I heard 
Miss Pasco tell Miss Palmer so. 
Who is he sweet upon! Miss 
Pasco said she was a very lacky 
girl. What girl did she meant" 
pursued Arthur, innocently. 

"Yes, dear. It is quite true 
that the gentleman pays for your 
schooling now. He saw that you 
were unhappy at Mr Brake's, and 
so, being very kind and noble- 
hearted, he took you away and 
brought you here where you are 
so happy and well cared for. Bat 
supposing, Arthur dear, that your 
staying here required that I should 
do something very wrong — some- 
thing that would make respectable 
persons like Miss Pasco thiiik ill of 
me, and turn away from me ; yon 
would not wish to stay here if you 
had to be ashamed of your sister, 
would you, dear ? " 

Arthur looked at her with a 
frightened air, her manner was so 
serious. " Are you going to take 
me back to Mr Brake's again?" he 
asked, and burst into tears. 

Hilda had some ado in getting 
him to stop crying. The terror o\ 
what he had undergone at Slaye 
was still fresh on him, and it re> 
quired repeated assurances from his 
sister that he should not be taken 
there again before he was com- 
forted. 



1881.] 



The Private Secretary, — Paii: IX. 



69 



"You would not forgive poor 
Hilda, then, Arthur, if she were to 
be the means of your going away 
from this nice school again % " 

" I should like to go home with 
you still better than being here, of 
course," replied the child; "but 
the holidays will be here very 
soon." 

" But I may not have a home to 
take you to. Papa has gone away, 
and his coming back is uncertain ; 
and I don't think he will be able 
to have you with him when he does 
come back ; and I may not be able 
to keep up the house by myself. 
But Miss Pasco will make you very 
happy if you should have to stay 
for the holidays, I am sure. She 
tells me she has three or four little 
boys from India, who spend all 
their holidays with her. It will be 
very nice having some other boys 
to play with, won't it ? At home, 
you know, you have no compan- 
ions." 

Arthur did not dissent from 
these propositions, but his face tes- 
tified to the higher appreciation he 
set on life at home, even without 
playmates of his own age. 

" And now good-bye, dear," con- 
tinued his sister, stooping down to 
embrace him. " And, Arthur dar- 
ling, if, by-and-by, when you grow 
up to be a man, you should hear 
people say that your sister was not 
as good as you thought her to be, 
will you promise to remember that 
what she did wrong was done partly 
for your sake, that you might get 



good schooling, and grow up wise, 
and good, and clever? You will 
promise to love her still, won't you, 
and not to look coldly on her or 
forsake her ? " 

The child made no answer in 
words. He could not understand 
his sister's mood, that she, to whom 
he was accustomed to look up as 
the embodiment of all that was 
good, and kind, and powerful, should 
be asking his pardon and depre- 
cating his scorn. All he could 
understand was that she was going 
away now, and that perhaps he 
would be left at school for the 
holidays ; and that she was unlike 
her usual self, and unhappy about 
something. His sister's tearful 
eyes, too, were contagious : he lifted 
up his voice and wept as Hilda, 
giving him one more embrace, rose 
from her knees, and bidding him 
tell Miss Pasco that she would not 
be able to return to call on her 
as she had promised, opened the 
garden-gate for him to enter and 
passed quickly away. 

Next day, as Clifford was sitting 
disconsolate in his study after 
breakfast, among the letters brought 
in to him from one of the morning 
deliveries was a small one addressed 
in the well-known handwriting. It 
contained merely these words : — 

" Come back, and you shall no 
longer have cause to reproach me 
me with being hard and selfish. 

H." 



70 



A French Lady and her Friends. 



[Jnly 



A FRENCH LADY AND HER FRIENDS. 



A MBLANCHOLT cry has been 
raised in France, **Le3 salons se 
meurent — les salons sont morts;" 
and as with their decay " Tesprit 
s'en va," as with them many of 
the pleasant ways of the sociable 
French monde must disappear, 
regrets are loud and deep over 
their loss; and the few that are 
still left are spoken of tenderly, 
reverently almost, as we speak with 
bated breath of one expiring 'midst 
gracious and loving memories. 

A little book,* published in the 
beginning of the year, gives the 
simple and unaffected description 
of the elements of one of those 
charming sanctuaries of the old 
" esprit gaulois " of the " art de 
causer," — one of the last retreats 
where literature, poetry, music, 
painting — where, in a word, talent 
of every kind flourished under 
the sympathetic reign and rule of 
a miniature queen, known to her 
subjects under various friendly ap- 
pellations, such as **La F^e" to 
some, to Musset as "La Marraine," 
and to the general public as 
Madame Jaubert, the wife of a 
Conseiller k la Cour de Cassation. 

The small — very small — fair, and 
fragile hostess who gathered around 
her, in closest intimacy, such men 
as Heine, Musset, Delacroix, Ber- 
ryer, Rossini, Bellini, and Mario, 
possessed those special and mag- 
netic qualities of attractiveness and 
charm which, more than beauty and 
powerful intellect, are needed to 
wield the sceptre of government in 
a salon. 

The Chevalier d'Aydie compared 
Madame du Defifand's esprit to 
the nature of a well -trained dog 



which is always sure to raise plenty 
of game ; and this, a friend of ours 
has said or written, ever seems the 
most appropriate definition of a 
good maitresse de maison. For the 
hostess should not herself shine 
so brilliantly as to put out any 
lesser lights surrounding her, her 
task and pleasure being to show 
them off according to their respec- 
tive powers and merits ; moreover, 
she should be endowed with a gift 
of foresight and prophetic judg- 
ment, enabling her early to discern 
the qualities, and to cultivate the 
friendship, of such celebrities as 
those who illumined Madame Jaa- 
bert's circle, and who gave her, till 
their life's close, the homage '' d'un 
culte passionn^ment amiccd." 

Years have now passed since the 
palmy days of Madame Jaubert's 
salon ; and most of those who met 
there, and whose delicate reparties 
and intimate communings have 
been discriminatingly confided to 
us in the " Souvenirs," have suc- 
cessively dropped off" — called by 
death to meet the judgment of 
posterity ; whilst she — born almost 
on the threshold of this century — 
remains to tell us what manner of 
men these were who warmed it 
with the fire of their eloquence, 
charmed it with the power of their 
melodies, or ravished it with the 
magic of their verse, — she remains ! 
and we who have the privilege of 
knowing her, fully endorse the 
descriptive terms in which Paul 
de Musset wrote of her some few- 
years ago only, " To uj ours p^tillante 
d'entrain d'esprit et d'originalit^ — 
les ann^es ne Tont pas ^teinte." 

Age and infirmities have respect- 



* * Souvenirs de Mme. C. Jaubert. 
editions in as many days. 



Paris, 1881 : Hetzel.' Went through three 



1881.] 



A French Lady and her Friends. 



n 



ed the little " Marraine : " the '* bel 
ange aux^yeux noirs" of De Musset's 
yeises "A Ninon," — those black 
eyes that coutrafited so piquantly 
with her fair hair, are still bright 
and sparkling ; her face is still 
fresh and smiling. Years have in 
no wise dulled her brightness or 
her cheeriness ; she has even kept 
her whole delightful freshness of 
interest in the lives and doings of 
others — doubtless ever one of the 
most winning qualities of this 
sprightly little hostess. 

Most of all, her charm of aecueil, 
and the vivacity of her conver- 
satioD, are unchanged; and these 
attract to her still all who are fa- 
voured by being permitted to enjoy 
her well-told reminiscences : so that 
early and late her salofi is full of 
men and women of note, who gather 
round her to listen, and store up 
interesting and valuable memories. 
These " Souvenirs" open by plac- 
mg Berryer before us in the frame 
of his country-seat,* and in the 
laisser aller of the intimacies that 
he there gathered round him. Our ' 
author scarcely condescends to 
paint the portrait of the great 
orator, as being too well known to 
the general public — the man with 
the powerful frame, fine head, the 
sonorous and vibrating tones that 
lent so much force to the politioal 
speaker. She prefers delineating 
the winning host, known but to a 
chosen few, with his special gift 
for obtaining confidences without 
ever betraying his own, who was 
secretive by nature, though in no 
way mysterious, and who gave 
•mple compensation for what he 
sstained from telling, by the rich 
ores he so generously drew from 
is marvellously stocked memory. 
The influence of woman played 
' inconsiderable part in Berry er*s 
.e. Madame Jaubert says : " Ber- 



ryer cared solely for women's com- 
panionship — his very manner of 
listening to them inspired them 
with all necessary esprit; and he 
was, in this respect, the living 
proof that an expert speaker can 
elicit from his partner in conversa- 
tion, as much as a great artist from 
the poorest instrument. Open to 
the seduction of the most opposite 
charms, he was singularly liable to 
those amours fractionnes which 
made him so pleasant when stim- 
ulated and drawn out by the 
presence of the loved one." She 
also relates an amusing opinion 
on the host and his mil e tre ex- 
pressed by one of the Augerville 
intimes, who, being rather put out 
at the number of beauties worship- 
ping at the great man's shrine, main- 
tained Berry er's inferiority as a lover 
as compared with the perfection of 
his sentiments de mezzo caractcre. 
He went on to show the superior- 
ity of Mirabeau in similar circum- 
stances, and upheld this opinion 
notwithstanding the indignant pro- 
test of the whole feminine assem- 
bled element — ** for love," said this 
critic, " is a devouring fire, concen- 
trated and exclusive. Believe me, 
if Berryer had not muddled away 
his gold in small change, few 
amongst the best of women might 
boast having resisted the entraine- 
ment of such penetrating and pas- 
sionate eloquence." Madame Jau- 
bert's comment on this is, " that 
there was much ajyparent justice in 
this remark; but," she shrewdly 
adds, '* how large is the unknown 
share in the heart and life even of 
those with whom we are supposed 
to be most thoroughly acquainted ! " 
Another trait of Berry er's character 
that she dwells on was his genial 
adaptation to the role of country 
gentleman and host at his well- 
beloved Augerville, where Madame 



• Augerville, near Paris. 



72 



A French Lady and her Friends. 



[Julj 



Jaubert was accustomed to make 
long sojourns, which furnish her 
with matter for many entertaining 
and humorous observations on her 
host and his Efjerie du moment; 
on the hostess, with her placid yet 
clairvoyant knowledge of all that 
was going on around her; on 
the Legitimist party's efforts and 
visits ; and on the numerous re- 
markable men who formed the 
nucleus of the society at Auger- 
ville. She gives interesting details 
of the great man's love of his 
country life and his plantations ; 
his whole - heartedness in small 
things — never allowing politics, or 
speeches, or lawsuits, or plead- 
ing, or any of the multifarious 
^at calls and duties of his exist- 
ence, to interfere with the simple 
pleasures of his country life; his 
power of being toutcl-vousy not 
even permitting to love — so im- 
portant a factor in his life — the 
power of withdrawing any of his 
time or attention from the pleasures 
of friendship — "Ce gaspillage de 
temps devenait un veritable luxe, 
une prodigalitc." 

The fact that will probably 
strike English readers as most 
peculiar is the strangely amiable 
acquiescence of Madame Berryer 
in all arrangements that brought 
to Augerville those admired fair 
ones that doubtless ihade up the 
hataillon dee amours fractionnes 
to which allusion has already been 
made. Madame Jaubert relates on 
this score a curious conversation 
she held with her hostess respect- 
ing one of these particularly courted 
stars, who was making, simultane- 
ously with our authoress, a stay with 
the Berryers. Unable to decide on 
the nature of the feelings that drew 
her host towards the Comtesse de 
T., she was told by Madame Ber- 



ryer, who had known of her cogi- 
tations, that she would be wrong 
in supposing the tie between them 
more or other than a tender and 
mutual admiration — " un pur plato- 
nisme, assaisonne de coquetterie ; " 
adding, in authoritative tones, '* my 
husband is unable to keep any 
secrets from me." This remark 
drew forth the smiling retort, that 
it would be hardly credible that a 
man of so delicate taste as Ber- 
ryer should choose his wife for such 
peculiar confidences ; whereupon 
Madame Berryer asserted that she 
possessed an astonishing means for 
obtaining any knowledge she re- 
quired from her husband: when he 
seemed to sleep uneasily, she took 
him by the hand and questioned 
him. ** And is he aware of this 1 " 
" Yes, he knows it ; but what 
matters? Ke also knows I am his 
best friend, and incapable of put- 
ting his confidences to a wrong use. 
We were married at the age of 
nineteen, both of us; and a solid 
affection, of which trust forms the 
groundwork, succeeded to love. 
You will observe that I say trusty 
and not confidences.* Certain sub- 
jects dwell unexpressed, though 
tacitly understood, between us, 
— those we hardly ever touch 
upon." 

.Our writer, further on, tells us 
how she got the proof some days 
later, during her stay at Augerville, 
of the truth of Madame Berryer's 
judgment as to the nature of the 
feelings which existed between the 
host and his fair one, with whom 
in the meanwhile Madame Jaubert 
had grown intimate, and who gave 
up to Madame Jaubert for perusn 
the ardent letters she had receive 
from the great orator. Of thef 
the most recent in date was th^ 
invitation for that very visit t 



* The French words lend themselves better to tlie distinction intended- 
Jia)icej et non confidences/* 



1881.] 



A French Lady and her Friends, 



73 



Angerville; and being characteristic 
in its edline fondness, we give it : — 

"Dear (for having no illusions, 

I suppress the possessive pronoun), — 
Everything here is in flower, and the 
breeze is perfumed ! Will you not 
come to US ? They are such glad days 
those, that let me see you walking in 
your liberty. Nothing is more charm- 
ing to look upon, nor more inducive 
to love. If you do not come at once, 
give me alms by sending me a friendly 
line. You are amongst the few with 
whom my fondest thoughts seek to 
people my solitude, and converse, 
whilst I watch the water running by, 
or listen to the rustling of the wind in 
the trees. Send me some pleasant 
words to mix with those my tnoughts 
lend you. Show me that neither are 
my dreams false nor your promises. 
Adieu ! you that I love separately and 
through all other fancies, all passions, 
all joys, all allurements of my life — 
object of my regrets, vexation, con- 
tent, admiration, and chai*ro. To all 
I envy yon, and yet am not jealous. 
My happiness is to have you appre- 
ciated, and yet would have it that I 
alone were yours for ever. 

" Berryer. 

" August, AUGERVI LLB. ' ' 

^ladame Jaubert found it hard 
to find a name for this intimacy, 
which she judges as more than a 
flirtation — '' un sentiment, una 
esp^rance 61ey^ k sa plus haute 
puissance." And hopes are some- 
times realised — et ajjrhs ? 

Interesting and amusing as are 

these insights into the inner life of 

the great Legitimist champion and 

oiator, we would not dwell on them 

too long, but hasten towards the 

rich soucenira our author dedicates 

to Alfred de Musset, with whom 

ST friendship was long and close. 

he letters that she gives of this 

spiesentative poet of his time and 

eneiation form by far the most 

iteiesting portion of the volume. 

hey are marvels of French esprity 

Toking by a single familiar word 

expression a whole series of un- 



translatable impressions. And yet 
the ^' Marraine " has but gleaned in 
the rich harvest which his close 
correspondence yielded her. She 
has a certain casket full of letters, 
that we have been permitted to 
look into, the most interesting of 
which, from, motives of discreet 
reserve, are destined to remain un- 
known to the many who worship 
at his shrine. 

Musset was eoccesaif in love — it 
is his own appreciation. Love was 
not, with him, as it is so often in 
our days, a light and *' spirituelle 
com^die a deux personnages,'' en- 
acted to wile away dSsmuvremenfy 
and born of opportunity, but sel- 
dom a drama of passion. For 
what man most often seeks in 
woman is " love in idleness," or 
the satisfaction of unwholesome 
curiosity, or the gratification of 
triumphant vanity. If artistes 
en amour, difiiculty is sufficient to 
attract men; and seldom is it the 
woman man seeks in women. 
What De Musset sought for in her 
was love — more love, love ever — 
with an undying, unquenchable 
thirst! Woman to him was but 
the vase that held the costly oint- 
ment which his wounded and sick 
soul needed. The precious balm that 
he sued for from all his danger- 
euses aimees — Sand, Malibran, 
Rachel, and so many besides — could 
not satisfy his immense need ; he 
ever reached forward towards that 
something more he felt, he knew 
must be, and with an anguished 
heart pressed after that love, com- 
plete and perfect, that had ever 
failed him, *^ et qui dans ses bras 
de feu Temportat au tombeau.*' 

In this respect, De Musset, 
** Tenfant du si^cle," is the poet who 
has left his mark most powerfully 
on his land and generation; for 
in this he was the embodiment of 
the love-anguish which was a dis- 
tinguishing feature of his times. 



n 



A French Lady and her Friends. 



[Jnly 



Chenavard, questioned by Madame 
Jaubert as to what would be the 
representative idea which should 
in future ages consecrate the poet's 
name, answered, '' A tout jamais, 
madame, Alfred de Musset sera la 
personnification de la jeunesse et 
de Tamour." This judgment from 
so competent a man would have re- 
joiced De Musset had he known of 
it j for when taken to task for his 
non - productiveness in his latter 
days, his retort was that a man's 
superiority in no wise depended 
upon the quantity of work he had 
done, but was to be measured by 
the depth of the impression he had 
produced. 

But it is not of the exquisite 
poet of the "Nuit d'Octobre,'' of 
the " Saule," the " Souvenir," and 
of the many volumes of marvellous 
verse, that we have now to speak, 
for under that aspect he has too 
long been every man's property 
to need commendation j it is of the 
fantastic Will-o'-the-wisp prose- 
writer, who during years of his life 
dashed off a treasure of sparkling 
letters to the "Marraine,"* in 
which he paints himself without 
disguise or flattery, and lets us into 
the secrets of his heart-springs. 

The first letter that Madame Jau- 
bert publishes is one of the most 
interesting — for in it De Musset, 
in answer to a reproof that the 
"Marraine" had gently written him 
on the unpleasantness of his man- 
ner, which often deterred favour- 
ably inclined friends from further 
rapports with him, has given us 
the key to these outward rough- 
nesses. The letter is undated — in- 
deed all his letters are ; but this 



one was evidently written daring 
the early stage of his acquaintance 
with Madame Jaubert, before his 
feelings had ripened into the soHd 
friendship which marked the after- 
period of their intimacy, and his 
letter is made up of plaisanterie and 
galanterie, mixed with a strong 
feeling of trust in her judgment 
and opinions. He writes : — 

" Madam, — You have found the true 
name for the sentiment that unites us 
when you christen it un sentiment sam 
710771 ; without antithesis, your expres- 
sion is true and full of charm. It re- 
calls another to me, a droll one (you 
kuow you and 1 have that also in 
common, that we mix up droll and 
serious matters). It was said by a 
friend of mine — to his wife, I think — 
' We are on the chemin vicinal to love 
and friendship.' What say you of the 
comparison ? * I have a real interest,' 
says Monsieur le Conseiller de la Ver- 
dullette,t * in your not becoming too 
much of a mauvais sujet. No ; but 
seriously, you know,' he adds. But 
seriously, I answer in turn, am I be- 
coming such a good-for-nothinjj 1 Have 
I not told you that I am holding my- 
self back with both hands ? Is it to 
be a mauvais sujet to find a row of 
pearls, white, and wish to touch them 
with one's finger-tips ? * I really care 
about him,' you say. Well, that*s a 
fine reason ! If people love what you 
love, madam, it's proof of good taste, in 
the first place ; and secondly, that even 
when with others, one needs a little 
of you. Unfortunately, Mr Le Con- 
seiller is aware that, white though they 
be, the said pearls are much too green J 
for his very humble servant You 
never asked me how I passed my sum- 
mer. *No.' *Andwhynot?' 'Because 
I none the less thank you for your tales 
— that is to say, I thank you all the 
more.' La tromp?tte dans la prestance 
is excellent ; but wherefore your har^ 
sayings against men? *Our powei ' 



• Madame Jaubert had given playful nicknames to all her intimet, and Alfred c 
Musset had in consequence given her in his turn the friendly appellation which : 
now the title by which posterity will best know her. 

t A playful designation for Madame Jaubert. 

:;: The French saying, ** Les raisins sont trop verts," alluding to the grapes out 
reach. 



mi] 



A French Lady and her Friends. 



75 



Tou say, ' is shown by our weaknesses.* 
babbish ! We do not sound louder 
than you either the onset or the vic- 
tory. As a general rule women are 
more feds * tnan men, and more in- 
discreet— /a<« before and indiscreet 
after. 

"If what I say makes your hair 
stand on end, be sure, madam, that I 
say it to you only. Here have I been 
led into and have arrived at an accu- 
sation of fatuiti and impertinence. 
Let us, then, talk somewhat of these. 
I will not insipidly thank you for 
repeating to me all the evil spoken 
of me, but must say that, above all 
things, I like your gentle, kindly, and 
yet sincere manner of conveying a re- 
proach, which brings it home to me 
without wounding. It is the most 
precious science, friend, that you are 
m possession of. It comes to you 
naturally ; and as long as you know 
how to apply it, do not wonder if folk 
love you. Let us talk reason. Every- 
body is agreed as to the unpleasant- 
ness of my manner in a room. I not 
only agree with everybody on this 
point, but this unpleasantness is more 
unpleasant to me than to anybody. 
Whence does it proceed ? From two 
first causes — pride and timidity. These 
are the amiable principles with which 
I have to get along here below. One 
cannot change one's nature ; one must 
make the best of it. I have been 
trying to do so for some time past. 
You render me that justice. To these 
two first causes should be added a 
result difScult to be overcome. There 
are certain days on which I rise (it 
may seem ridiculous, but it is true) in 
a nervous condition. I may strive to 
j^jtodesire, to try — impossible! . . . 
Stupid enough, is it not ? but what's 
to be done i Prendre sur soi. Very 
trae ; but how take where there is 
nothing ? You tell me of people who 
wonld willingly let me know the pleas- 
ure I mav have given them. I give you 
m wonf that, out of ten compliments 
ni are unbearable to me. I don't 
n that they wound me, nor that I 
h jve them false, — simply that they 
gi me the wish to nm away : an- 
al ' that if you can. Know and be- 



lieve, at least, that at such times I 
hate myself. It is not my real self nor 
nature. As a child I was quite dif- 
ferent. I used to recite fables in the 
middle of the drawing-room, and after- 
wards would kiss the whole assembled 
company. Would to God I were still 
as then ! In your letter there is a 
most true and just saying — and ah, 
what a sad one ! — * You alienate men 
of intellect and of heart, who would 
otherwise be drawn towards you.' Yes, 
true enough; and do you think I do not 
see it, and that sometimes I do not re- 
gret it 1 But then, why so ? I do not 
care to follow out the reason. Men 
are indifferent to me. I will not ask 
myself whether I hate them, for fear 
that might be at the bottom of it : 
however that may be, they in no wise 
make me suffer, and therefore it is but 
fair they should not give me any en- 
joyment. Therein, friend, and there- 
in alone, lies the serious side of the 
question. In the matter of manners, 
bows, and shake-hands, the longer I 
live the more I trust I shall gain pol- 
ish ; that is a matter of mere polite- 
ness and of pure duty. I will force 
myself the most I can ; and yours will 
be most of the merit. As to that which 
concerns sympathy, even all fitful and 
lightly expressed sympathy, as from 
man to man, that's another matter. 
Forgive my old experience, if it does 
not allow of my boldly deciding such 
a question. Your letter, madam, made 
me reflect at length, and conscientious- 
ly, on it : you only intended preaching 
politeness to me ; you led me on to 
ponder on friendship. I looked at my- 
self, and asked myself whetlier, beneath 
my stiff, cross, impertinent, and un- 
sympathetic-looking exterior (what- 
ever the fair, small Milanese may say 
to the contrary), — if beneath all that, 
I say, there may not have been primi- 
tively something passionate and en- 
thusiastic, d la manihe de Rousseau. 
It is quite possible. I attempted once 
only to give myself up to friendship. 
It IS a strange sentiment, unheard-of 
with me — an excitement, stronger per- 
haps than love desires, for its trans- 
forts are never allayed. From what 
know of it, it must be a terrible 



* A word for which * * ostentatious " is a poor substitute. 



76 



A French Lady and her Friends. 



[J«ly 



feelin<», — ^^'ery dangerous, ver}' sweet, 
Ciipable of making the happiness or 
iiuhappiness of a whole life ; and I 
undersUmd Rousseau, who became 
lialf mad from the perturbation that 
this passion occasioned him. There- 
fore, most decidedly I will none of it : 
love-troubles are quite sufficient to 
receive at vour hands, mesdames. 
Moreover, I have not time for it. 

" Here is a mass of seriousness for a 
light remonstrance ; but with you my 
heart dilates, as by the side of others 
it contracts. Forgive me, therefore, 
this dissertation ; and if you think it 
over a little, you will understand me 
better. I am not tcndre, but excessif. 
This is my defect, and it drives me 
frantic. Be sure that extreme polish 
is ever at the expense of much depth, 
and I don't say this to excuse myself. 

" Your letter was a real causerie, you 
said ; mine, you see, is nothing else. 
I send you this quire of paper (better 
filled than yours). In so doing I have 
done more than pass an evening with 
you ; I have pa<seil an hour in bed 
with you. You had no notion of that, 
had you, madam? A hientdt done, 
as we are agreed. I trust the disserta- 
tion upon friendship has naught in 
common with the sentiment sans noni, 

"A. DE MUSSET." 

In Madame Jaubert's salon, Al- 
fred de Musset used to meet a 
certain Princess de Belgiojoso, who 
played no small role in the poet's 
life. His letters are full of her; 
and the " Marraine " gives us the 
following portrait of this fair iti- 
time : — 

"Princess Christine possessed all 
the gifts with which fairy godmothers 
usually endow the child tliey favour. 
Born Marquise de Trivulee, and mis- 
tress at sixteen years of age of a large 
fortune, she married the young and 
handsome Prince de Belgiojoso, who 
was a Milanese, as she was herself. 
She was singularly and rarely beauti- 
ful ; and to a noble and graceful car- 
riage was added the charm of an en- 
chanting sound of voice. . . . The 
Princess had, moreover, a hundred 
other claims to special homage, — a 
rare intellect, a passionate and domi- 



nating mind, a glance full of power, 
most remarkable courage and coolness, 
and, above all, the art of pleasing — 
that most essential counterpart to the 
thirst for adoration. It is clear that 
in this intellect, united to such beauty, 
there lay for De Musset a most powerful 
attraction ; indeed, rarely is it given 
to woman to possess in so eminent a 
degree such magnetic gifts. . . . Never- 
theless," Madame Jaubert goes on to 
say, '^ these two natures did not suit 
or understand each other, the whilst 
they attracted and desired each other. 
In the Princess's eyes, men formed a 
single vast category, divided into three 
amorous series — * il Test, le flit, on le 
doit etre.' She used to say, * I cannot 
imagine what interest can be taken in 
life, when eyes can look u[K>n us with- 
out loving.* As to De Musset, who might 
well have hoped to please, even with- 
out his claims as a celebrity (acquired 
at the age of twenty), he declined sub- 
mitting to the r6g%me igalitaire, and 
being treated as toiU U monde ; his 
ardent nature revolted, as well as his 
delicate, sensitive, and over-susceptible 
mind. . . . Fortunately an extreme 
mobility of impressions defended hini 
against himself." 

And as proof of this quality of the 
poet's, Madame Jaubert gives a let- 
ter to illustrate the secret and mo- 
bile nature of the poet's feelings : — 

**My dear Marr.4Ixe, — I went 
twice to-day chez vous, but found only 
your maid. After losing five games 
of chess, I went to bed in despair. 
The most amiable and unexpected 
toothache ^thanks to God, and the 
wind that is blowing) wakes me with 
a start at five in the morning. I get 
up and write to you — in the first place, 
to cease from suffering ; in the second, 
to make you acquainted with that 
which I should have told you had 
I met you. This is the lamentable 
thing that will infallibly choke U] ;. 

" Heaven had inspired me with 1 le 
happy thought of going out this mo: n- 
ing in weather too bad to put ^n 
umbrella out of doors. First a id 
foremost, I translated myself to y< ur 
door. I have already told you wl at 
I foimd there. Thereupon 1 went to 
the Rue de la Michodiere, where I 



1881.] 



A French Lady and her Friends. 



77 



foand Desdemona* in a dressing- 
gown, I hasten to say that she was 
most amiable, and that the thing went 
off very well — in iutti fiochi, in a 
wokL But I had been feverish the 
night before ; and if I tell you this, 
madam, it is not that you may repeat 
it to my mother. HaVing, therewre, 
been feverish, I had clothed myself 
in fur — a certain fur \i*ith which you 
are perhaps acquainted ; and as it was 
very hot at Desdemona's, I naturally 
grew still hotter. The heat was doing 
me good ; there is no harm in that ; 
but probably it showed in my looks. 
Now there was present a Mr Osborne, 
who is, I believe, a pianist, but cer- 
tainly an Englishman. Enveloped in 
the most complimentary of compli- 
ments, some words of that 'devilish 
language' were exchanged between 
Desdemona and the islander. They 
imagined t could not understand 
them. Moreover, I was talking with 
the mamma. Now just imagine what 
I believe — ^y es, archi — believe I caught 
flying ! Two atrocious words (which 
nothmg would ever induce me to re- 
peat), in the way of a joke on the fur 
and the heat. I did not let on I 
understood ; and no one had the right 
to say to me, as to Mithridate, ' Seig- 
neur, vous changez de visage ; ' but 
only fancy such a thing ! Can you 
conceive the whole reverse of this 
mSdailletf Whether I was right or 
wrong in my supposition, do you 
realise the salt of this plaisanterie 

flayed on me by my old enemy, fate ? 
f I was not mistaken (and I feel 
q^uite sure I was not mistaken), you 
will understand all the good I derived 
from these two words without decency, 
nor pity (of my feverishness), ana 
which were almost coarsely savage ! 
If I am mistaken, there is no way of 
ascertaining it — none ! And you 
know me ! I am now convinced. 
Ai to the sorrow it may have caused 
vt^y I had already forgotten it this 
f i!ing after dinner ; but I shall 
I 'er be face to lace with the de- 
1 Iselle without ... the devil take 
i strange tongues ! 

This is my tale. Om/ / 

I am continuing to polish off my 



nauvelle, which is unending, and 
wearies me, — there are no words 
either in English or French to sjiy 
how much. Disappointed compli- 
ments. A. DE MUSSET." 

His wrath at this ill treatment 
was not, however, of long duration. 
Pauline Garcia's talent and charm 
easily triumphed afresh over his 
malleable heart. Soon his Paolita's 
souvenir is mixed up again in its 
turn with the recurrent domination 
of the Princess, and the next letter 
given betrays the fluctuations of 
this dual state of mind. It was ad- 
dressed to Madame Jaubert at Ver- 
sailles, where she had gone to spend 
a few days with her friend the Prin- 
cess de Belgiojoso, and is as fol- 
lows ; — 

"I had begun a letter to you as 
follows : * Madam, I have absolutely 
nothing new to tell you, but I write 
merely because it shall not be said 
that you gave me your address, and 
that 1 have not profited by it,' when 
I learnt through the channel of my 
family that you were to return on 
Sunday, and perceived that I was 
rather too late, as this was on Satur- 
day. A hundred and one thanks, in 
the first place, for your kind envoi. 
I shall never be able to tell you the 
pleasure I feel when I see a letter of 
yours arrive, at breaking open the seal 
and reading it with the certainty of 
finding therein a word or two of real 
friendship and some good news. When 
in the midst of my foolish life I read 
a letter of yours, I must somewhat re- 
semble a man poisoned by asphalt and 
tobacco-smoke, who suddenly entering 
a garden, should receive into his nostril 
a puff of wind full of the odour of 
roses ! 

" And so she returns, and you also. 
Consequently folk will be able to re- 
sume life in some measure. 

"I should like to be able to say 
something in answer to your pretty 
note on apparitions, but the light 
blows dealt by your little hand are so 



Pauline Garcia, one of Musset's iloiles filaiites. 
" Le revers de la m^aille " is a French sayiug for the unpleasant side of things. 



78 



A French Lady and her Friends. 



[July 



pleasant to receive that I feel bound 
to confess I think they will hardly 
correct any one. However that may 
be, leam that your godson is working. 

"How pretty she was the other 
evening running about the garden 
with my slippers on, and a little knitted 
cap in red and black worsted ! I felt, 
nevertheless — and it is true — I am no 
longer good for anything. I am no 
longer mad when in love. * And you ? 
And if one is that no longer, of what 
value is the rest? To talk nonsense 
seriously, therein lies the great busi- 
ness of life. When one no longer 
dares to be preposterous, one must 
either blow one's brains out or 
marry. 

" What think you of the three fol- 
lowing lines ? — 

Lorsqiie nia bien aimee entr*ouvre sa 

])aui)i6re, 
Sombre comme la iiuit, pur comme la 

lumiere, 
Sur I'email do scs yeux brillc un dia- 

maut noir. 

I much want to know if you like 
that. Two good things helped me to 
write them— a line ifrom you and 
Paolita's souvenir. I warn you that 
the verses have been found bold ; but 
is it certain that boldness is a fault ? 
A question. Why do souvenirs of 
Paolita occur to mo constantly when 

in the presence of ? Talk of 

rights of presence ! Another question. 
If Paolita, when singing * Le Saule,' * 
should take the fancy of turning 
slightly to one side (and being au haU 
con), so as to render your most Mont- 
morenci-like godson quite madly in 
love, what, then, would signify the 
proverb about the two hares ? t This is 
a philosophical and j)rovidential ques- 
tion. Third question. Might it not so 
happen that I find myself between two 
stools? Oh fie! A hist question. 
Why should the smell of patchouli 
render me melancholy, and that of 
iris joyous ? That^s a rehns ! 

"I give your left foot, madam, a 
shake of the hand. The three lines 
are in the idyl of ' Kodolphe.' 

" A. DE MUBSET." 



The letter that followed this one 
is all given up to the Princess. 

" Your advice was good, dear Mar- 
raine : proceeding from you, it was 
bound to be so ; but followed out by 
me, I was in great fear of it. 

" With a beating heart I got into a 
carriage this morning — nevertheless I 
showed much force of character going 
down the hill of Viroflay on foot ; 
and did you but know all the courage 
I mustered to ring at the door, you 
would give me the croix (Thonneur. 
Not Pietro's honest face itself, nor 

Mr M 's friendly salute, sufficed to 

reassure me. It was only when the 
star rose, half asleep, veiled in a few 
clouds, but perfectly charming and 
gentle, shedaing the purest rays 
around, that I felt rather more cheer- 
ful ; and thu-s after being burnt up by 
the sun on the road, I set to playing 
chess au clair de la luiie, (This meta- 
phor is slightly romantic.) Be that 

as it may, the dreaded lady was 

Heavens, how dull wortls are ! I be- 
lieve that on my side I did my duty, 
not having grumbled, and having 
swallowed four glasses of wine and 
water. I felt so lamb-like that on 
getting home I took a Bavaroise an 
lait in conse(iuence, * O milk and 
water ! ' says Byron somewhere. But 
tell me this, Marraine — why is it that 
I was ever so much more furious the 
other day than I am satisfied this 
evening i * What ferociousness, what 
cruelty,' said I to myself the last 
time, * what a shame I ' whereas to- 
night, when rolling back with the 
Abbe Stefani, I but whispered to my- 
self, * What a charm is hers ! what a 
lovely and good child ! * And I re- 
peat it. I am not as pleased as I 
was angry, and this is a nasty feeling. 
What is the cause i Perhaps you will 
say it is because last time I was angrj' 
without motive, whereas to-day I had 
good reason for being satisfied ; and 
therein you recognise the adroit ai . 
happy brains of your most deplorab ; 
godson. 

*' But that would be a calumn . 
Yes ! I dare to affirm that I am ; 
grateful as 1 am cross, so find anoth : 



* The song in " Otello," *' a pife d'un salice." 

t French saying — '* On ne doit pas courir deux lidvres & la fois." 



1881.] 



A French Lady and Tier Friends. 



79 



explanation — I address the question 
to your wisdom. Were I to venture 
on hazarding an opinion, I should be 
inclined to think that whereas her 
ferocity was as complete as possible, 
and left me nothing further to wish 
for, her sweetness was . . . but I 
hope you will communicate your 
opinion to me on the subject. 

" Good night, Marraine ; amongst 
the flies at Versailles look at your 
small foot and remember there is a 
merle blane* who is pecking around 
it — Yours, A. de Musset. 

" P.S. — Pray tell me what you think 
of the following sentence : * He found 
in it ' (it is Origen who is spoken of) 
' that passing preference for material 
things over the pleasures of the mind, 
so precious when it is unaccustomed, 
and so sweet to him who causes it.' 
1 do not quote quite correctly per- 
haps, but it s something like that. Is 
it not well put and well felt ? With- 
out any pretence to resembling Ori- 
gen, my sick stomach has kept the 
remembrance of this. 

"Alfred de Musset." 

But this "lamb-lik« condition" 
was not of long duration. Ma- 
dame Jaubert relates that during 
the numerous reunions that afford- 
ed so many occasions for meeting 
to the poet and his Princess, one 
evening at the Marraine's, having 
been defied by his fair one to draw 
her likeness e7i caricature, a few 
rapid strokes of his pencil pro- 
duced a three-quarter face, with an 
immense eye placed full face, giv- 
ing, with exaggeration, her thinness 
and long neck, and making up a 
whole which was strikingly and 
intolerably like. The Princess had 
the good taste to acquiesce in the 
general admission of resemblance 
made smilingly by all present, but 
was nevertheless hurt at the result. 
Probably, too, De Musset was 
soon made aware of the conse- 
quences, for a very few days after- 



wards the Marraine received the 
following : — 

" Godmother, your godson is worst- 
ed ! What do you suppose the poor 
stupid did ? He wrote all his full 
heart openly — as a basket — keeping 
back nothing, embellishing nothing, 
humouring naught, mincing naught. 
No, naught of aught ! He has been 
soundly trounced for his pains. Such 
an answer has been sent him, O god- 
mother ! such an answer ... a print- 
able one ! 

"Yes, Madam Y— E— S— , this 
answer might, and ought perhaps to be 
put into type. It contains the noblest 
pride, 80 degrees (not centigrade) 
above freezing-point, and the most ex- 
quisite calm, 120 degrees below it — 
which is the equivalent of 200 horse- 
power, or of something like that. 

" And what do you think that poor 
stupid first did on receiving this im- 
perishable answer — or rather this 
answer worthy of being immortalised ? 
He (that's me) began by crying like 
a whipped child during a good half- 
hour. Yes, godmother ! hot tears, 
as in my best days, my head in my 
hands, my two elbows on my bed, my 
two feet on my neck- tie, mv knees on 
my new dress-coat ; and thus I sob- 
bed liked a child being scrubbed, and 
moreover suft'ering like a hound being 
sewn up (hunting metaphor). 

" Then I found myself, as you can 
readily believe, in such a huge vexa- 
tion, that I swam in it ; my room was 
verily an * ocean of bitterness,' as 
good people say, and in it I plunged 
over and over again. Vli — vlan — llan 
— pagn, &c. After this exercise I 
got into a tremendous passion, — ^with 
whom 1 It would be quite impossible 
to say ; but I was in a great passion, 
which certainly lasted two full hours. 
God be thanked, I smashed nothing ! 
Aftenvards I began to feel weary, and 
recommenced crying, but not much, 
only for refreshment's sake. 

" Afterwards I ate four eggs . . . 
they were poached. 

"After which all I felt fatigued— 
(after which means at present). I 
have suffered so much that 1 am tired 



• A saying which means an exceptional creature, a " black swan." 



80 



A French Lady and her Friends. 



[July 



out, and that is why I talk nonsense 
to you. 

"If you could see my face you 
would die of laughing : my hair is all 
standing on end, the left eye swelled 
almost out of my head, the right one 
still whimpering half closed and 
bunged up, my nose fiery red, and my 
face lengthened, as a gingerbread one 
on a rainy day at the fair. Such are 
thy jests, O love ! The devil take the 
jests of love ! they are worse than those 
of chance.* 

" Zounds, godmother, such little 

1'okes do hurt ! Seriously, from 
lenceforth I will abstain from all 
correspondence or intercourse what- 
ever with her Serene Highness — un- 
der no pretence whatever I will any 
of it. 

" Moreover, I formally authorise 
you, Madame Jaubert, dwelling in 
such a street wherein is your house, 
aged as many springs as the lilacs of 
next season, small of size, but sound 
of judgment (which is fortunate for 
you), — I authorise you, I repeat, to 
say as follows to Monsieur le Docteur: t 
*You found fault to my godson*s 
telling ypu a few days ago, "5* ne 
fait pas mon compte ; " to-day he has 
the honour to say to you, " fa fait 
mon compte." ' Alp. pe Musset." 

The poet sooa after fled to the 
country to recover from this blow, 
and Madame Jaubert having joked 
him on this vigorous resolution, re- 
ceived the following answer : — 

"Godmother, you have certainl}' 
oft^jn blown into a bladder with a 
quill, and seen it pass from the con- 
dition of parchment to that of a 
melon, and if you continued blowing — 
Pouf! That's the eflect produced on 
me by your words, *The serpent did 
not go to Nonnandie to look for 
apples.' 

"I defy you to have more esprit, 
even you, than in that sentence. You 
must allow its prettiness yourself. 

"What a pity 'tis to spend one's 
days saying 'what a pity ! * One thing 
whicli strikes me as strangely odd, is 



that you should have allowed yourself 
to be so entirely won over by the big 
cruel eyes of that beautiful Mandarine 
disguised en princesse, as to be in- 
oculated with the taste for sermon- 
ising. 

" As for me, this is my whole opin- 
ion on the matter." 

(Here two blank pages in the sheets 
of letter-paper.) 

" I hope you will admit that, after 
what I have thus told you, you have no 
further observations to address to me. 
I think nothing could be added to so 
eloquent a pleading, and I beg you will 
make no joke at my expense — for the 
other day, at thirty paces, I cut a 
butterfly in two. . . . It is certain 
I am dreadfully in love; but with 
whom, I no longer know — perhaps 
it's with you, and I don't feel sure 
how to address this letter. Supposing 
I put ' k Madame la prinJaucesse bert 
de Bel rue Taitgiojoso bout.** Do you 
think my letter would go to St Ger- 
main ? 

"You say that you love me d tort 
et d traverSjX and I you d droit et d 
raison, Le Fieux." 

This letter was followed imme- 
diately by another, equally from the 
country : — 

" Well, madam, you would not be- 
lieve I would do it. What do you 
say now ? Am I oflf or not ] eh ? 
Aha ! I am but too truly off. In all 
conscience, do you know what I have 
been and done ? — the wisest and the 
stupidest thing in the world. Reason 
with me a little and say, * No good 
.would ever liave come of it; there 
was danger of souring, as you yourself 
foresaw — item, causes for suffering, and 
for very serious suffering, though I 
joke about it,' &c. Therefore I acted 
for the best in leaving ; for travelling 
diverts the thoughts, absence brings 
forgetfnlness, a decision taken brings 
back one's mng-froid, &c., — in slic"'^ 
mischief might have come of it ; a 
now, unless the devil interferes, no 
will happen. 

" But godmother, but madam, pr 



* Referring to a vaudeville entitled "Les jeux de rainoiir and du hasard." 

t The Princess de Belgiojoso. 

t An expression often used by the Roi Vertgalant in ending a letter. 



1881.] 



A French Lady and Tier Friends, 



81 



listen ! Happiness might have come 
of it, by vhich 1 only mean (being no 
longer a coxcomb) that, between a cer- 
tain person and myself there might 
baTe arisen a tie, an affection, which, 
with time and growth, might have 
become a very pretty thing, sans mime 
toucher tout d fait ensemble, but only 
under the same roof; whereas now, 
speaking quite seriously, and knowing 
myself thoroughly as I do, all is ab- 
solutely broken off between us. It is 
a second edition of my story with 
Bachel, whom I broke with out of 
temper, and for no sufficient reason. 
The said Rachel was piqued — tried to 
make out that she had been the first 
to break off. They said I got red-hot 
angry — letters were ezchangod — fuss ! 
complaints ! — and, finally, the devil of 
a row. 

" This is in some measure what 
has again overtaken me on account 
of a certain beautiful southerner. I 
break a pot, already knocked down, 
as you said the other day. * G^est ex- 
actly true.' No one is weaker, more 
changeable, and shows more the white 
feather than your incorrigible godson ; 
but once the bridge is crossed, hon soir 
la rivQre, It is not courage that 
drives me on, but a need of getting 
farther, as a horse being broken in; 
once over the bar, I do not go back. 
C. is now as one dead to me. Com- 
parison: Fancy an egg being thrown 
up in one's hand ; it is very fiail, very 
slight, but still very good for cooking 
and for general use as long as un- 
broken ; but once fallen on the ground 
and broken, there is no spoon, no any- 
thing, that can reinstate the yolk and 
remake it an egg, — there remains but 
a shell in bits and a little mess. Such 
is now the condition of my amiable 
heart. Well, godmother, I take the 
liberty of saying — and the devil take 
me if I have not the right to say it ! 
even should you judge me overweening 
— these women who play the prudes, 
who ill-treat and slight me, paining me 
to their heart's content, and, finally, 
make me hate them, — I will write 
them down at full length, Sillies ! It 
is neither their interest nor instinct to 
act thus. It is nought but humbug, 
which doesn't deceive me. What do 
you suppose is the meaning of Marco's 
writing from the heights of her big 
VOL, CXXX. — NO. DCCLXXXIX. 



eyes, *that the only good result of 
over-facile triumphs was to prevent 
obstinacy in seeking to achieve im- 
possible ones ' ? What does she mean 
by * facile triumphs ' ? Certainly noth - 
ing was less facile than certain stLcch 
{'miB.t a horrid expression !) which my 
memory recalls, and nothing less * im- 
possible ' than Mle. What is this way 
of treating as a mere boy, or as a 
libertin us^, a man younger than her- 
self, who at bottom is as good as she 
is, and who lets himself be driven, out 
of weakness, or, as our fathers used to 
say, par mignardise. but who has it in 
him to rouse up if his tail is trodden 
on 1 It is utter foolishness, godmother, 
and vanity, which overreaches itself 
and misses its target. 'What ought 
she to have done?' you will ask, per- 
haps ; * to have yielded ] Is she bound 
to yield lest she incur the august 
wrath of Monsieur ? ' No, godmother ; 
but she should understand, not make 
believe to think, and make others 
think, that, after a few years of world- 
ly life, she is a Prhidente de Tourvel ; 
and she should not profit by this at- 
tempt at making herself unrecognis- 
able, to refuse to recognise others. She 
should speak, in a word, as if aware to 
whom she was speaking, and strive to 
acquire the half only of the good sense, 
delicacy, and frankness of one of her 
friends who knows the difference be- 
tween the hoiuf and the bouvier. 

" There, I have had my say out. I 
am stiff, and my knees ache, because I 
have been running after a roe, who 
took it as a good joke, and who was 
right enough. It is my turn to snap 
my fingers at the creature, now that 1 
have changed my clothes and boots. 
This is no metaphor. I have really 
just returned from hunting with a 
quite sufficient number of leagues to 
my back. And I can certify you that 
the celebrated poet Horace knew not 
what he was talking about when he 
wrote that grief mounted and rode be- 
hind the horseman. Grief falls away 
on horseback with every gallop. I am 
writing to you with a liberated heart, a 
quiet conscience, and hands (a thousand 
pardons) that smell of the stables. 

"Good-bye, godmother. Few folk 
do I love as I love the good little fairy 
who stands upright on your little feet. 
—Yours, A. DE M." 

p 



82 



A French Lady and her Friends. 



[July 



In the next letter, whicli contains 
tlie humorous relation of a journey 
made under difficulties, his inex- 
orable decision as to his Princess 
is expressed with less bitterness, 
for he ends thus : " As for ' EUe/ 
now that I have made up my mind 
never to see her again, I may 
frankly give you my opinion, Je 
Vaime, je Vaimfi, je Vaime beaucoup, 
and you also — it's a pity, but not 
my fault/* Nevertheless, it was 
soon after this that he committed a 
fault against good taste and feeling, 
by venting his sentiments towards 
her in some verses that appeared in 
1842 in the * Kevue des Deux 
Mondes,' entitled, '' Sur une 
Morte," and which he so much 
regretted afterwards that during his 
lifetime they were never reprinted, 
and only appeared in the posthum- 
ous edition of his works. Madame 
Jaubert gives a letter in which he 
deplores, not so much the having 
thought and written them, as their 
publication. He had been ill — the 
godmother had remained unan- 
swered because "the godson had 
been six days in bed with fever," 
unable either to eat, or sleep, or to 
do "aught of aught, the fruits of 
his wisdom ; " which would seem to 
show that it was not without a bad 
effect upon his general health that 
the sensitive poet came to his " in- 
exorable decision." He playfully 
tells how " Mr 7non frhre profited 
by the occasion to throw lumps of 
moral reasoning at my head, which 
demonstrated that it was entirely 
my own fault if I had been thus in 
my bed, soaking there like a sponge 
and with my head all to bits. I 
quite entered into the spirit of his 
reasoning, but should have pre- 
ferred Sister Marceline." . . . 
He sent to the convent for her, 
but, in her absence, got another 
sister in her place, who nursed him 
well, but ennuyed him. " Ah ! 
how rare are the Sister Marcelines ! 



How few, how very few are they in 
the world who know how to give 
more than a cup of tisarie when 
one is suffering! How few who 
know how simultaneously to heal 
and to console ! When Sister Mar- 
celine used to come to my bedside, 
her little cup in hand, and lay her 
hand on my forehead, saying in her 
childlike voice, ' What a terrible 
knot you are making for us here ! ' 
(by which she meant, poor dear 
soul, that I was frowning,) she 
would have smoothed away the 
wrinkles from Leopard! himself 
in the very midst of a conspiration, 
or a lost game of chess." Then De 
Musset goes on to dispute with his 
Marraine, who would admit of no 
merits in "la Grisi," the rival at 
that time of Pauline Garcia, married 
and transformed into Pauline Yiar- 
dot. He does not deny the talent 
of his ex-flame Pauline. " I throw 
no one overboard," he says, " but 
she had barely sufficient power, and 
now she has lost much. . . . Grisi 
is intolerably vulgar and common, 
— granted; but she is often very 
fine, and she is audible, whereas 
Pauline was not audible. Que 
diahle t what though your inten- 
tions be of the best, if I cannot 
hear you, hon soir I " His kindli- 
ness of heart shows in the next 
paragraph, when, having drawn 
rather a ludicrous picture of the 
costume and appearance of Madame 
Viardot Garcia in "Arsace," he checks 
himself. " Poor Paulinette ! whilst 
I am thus dressing her up, her little 
portrait is there just in front of me, 
looking out at me with a slightly 
sulky yet good -child look. After 
all, you are right ; I am no longe? 
good for anything — she is charm 
ing, full of soul, with a hundred 
times more blood in her than aL 
the other roarers. But then, oi 
the other hand, what an idea, to g< 
and get married 1 enfin / . . . ' 
And this gentleness of mood leadt 



1881.] 



A French Lady a fid her Friends. 



83 



him on to confess remorse as to the 
Princess, and he writes : — 

"Apropos of my worthlessness, do 
Tou know one thing I have discovered, 
that fever, diet, violet syrup, and the 
sight of a nun praying to God, are 
excellent remedies against ferocity ? 
Yes, godmother, and I come to you 
with my confession. Whilst I was 
laid flat and stiff as a poker, perspiring 
hig drops under my fourteen quilts, 
and coughing fit to crack the window- 
panes, the memory of my last verses 
came to my mind, and I sincerely re- 
gretted them. It was wrong and ab- 
surd in me; not the having written 
them, but to have published them. 
'In that I recognise my simpleton,' 
you will say — * it is nearly time now 
for regrets ; ' and you will compare me 
to that prudent soul, who, having 
wagered he would cross a certain ez- 
panse of frozen water barefoot, and 
having accomplished one half of the 
distance, finding it too cold, turned 
back instead of continuing ! Well, 
no ; honour bright, I no longer love 
her ; or at any rate, the thought of her 
causes me not a ha'p'orth of suffer- 
ing. I have no sort of wish to patch 
matters up with her; but I am dis- 
satisfied with myself, and could wish 
for some means to mend matters. 
You must discover some for me : put 
your chin in your hand, lean your 
elbow on your garter, roast the tip of 
your foot, and thereupon give me your 
advice ! Positively no one here has 
yet imagined the verses were address- 
ed to Uranie. Neither my brother 
nor I have heard any living soul ap- 
ply them to her. The trumpet Bon- 
naire would certainly have done so 
had he been able. Reflect, therefore, 
somewhat, being certain of one thing, 
that I seek no reconciliation, nor any 
bringing ns together again in any 
way. Now that it's over and done 
with, I have had enough of it ; only I 
feel I have overstepped the bounds, 
md would be glad to efface the im- 
pression I have produced." 

The next few letters all turn 
nore or less on the new situation 
md troubles that his verses " Sur 



une Morte " created for him ; for his 
tardy compunction was unavailing, 
and the personal application they 
contained, to his surprise, was very 
easily made out by most ; whereas 
he had supposed that the Princess 
alone would have penetrated their 
inner meaning, and had hoped that 
a fui'ia amcyrosa would in her eyes 
have been his excuse. But the ill 
will of many meddlers embroiled 
the situation, and the defence and 
quarrel of the lady were taken up 
by divers busy-bodies. The traces 
of the agitation these caused De 
Musset are to be found in the fol- 
lowing letters : — 

" Have we quarrelled also, god- 
mother? Have you quite gone over 
to the enemy ? or is it that touchiness 
is contagious, and that you have let 
yourself be piqued by a jest — you 
who are eood sense and indulgence 

Eersoni fied ? Can the force of example 
e so great ? I wish to inform you 
that I am much better than when I 
was less well, and that my heart is 
beginning to stand up and shake itself. 
I won't say whether I am right or 
wrong, for at this present you are too 
much of a Lombard.* I merely wish 
to assert a fact, asking your leave to 
congratulate myself thereupon in de- 
fault of others. The fact is I suffered 
horribly, and that's the reason I de- 
serve pardon, for one should forgive 
those who suffer greatly. Soundly to 
thrash one, and yet bear ill will, is, 
you know, too womanly a proceeding. 
I admit, however, that as I broke the 
crockery, it is but fair I should pay : 
and this I do, and say nothing. Prin- 
cess Turandot (I am not Kalaf) little 
knows all the harm she did me, else 
had she been less fierce. She could 
never understand that simplest fact in 
the world, which is that the very real, 
very material, and serious cares I was 
fall of, greatly exasperated my state 
of mind on her account ; for I may say 
I defy any one to have even an equable 
temper under the circumstances in 
which I was placed. You will under- 
stand why I could not confide to her 



*• Princess de Belgiqjoso was a Lombard by birth. 



84 



A French Lady and her Friends. 



[July 



aflfairs which were not niine only. 
But it seems to me she might have 
felt there were times in one's earthly 
career when a man's temper is vari- 
able, will he, nil he ; and if he is, 
moreover, endowed with the advantage 
of being a bom growler, he may be- 
come yet more so. Thus this lovely 
Turandot took me at my word for 
every crossnejss said ; but on the other 
hand, never took into account any of 
my good impulses. I spoke to her 
with my whole and undisguised heart 
— foolishly and awkwardly if you will, 
but frankly; she answered me with 
the calm and gravity of a mandarin. 
. . . There is less difference than 
is generally supposed between a phy- 
sical action and a moral one. I main- 
tain that it is, to say the least of it, 
whimsical to pity a man if he has a 

gain in his stomach, but to half kill 
im if it is his heart that suffers. I 
repeat again, Marraine, that I don't 
pretend to be right, and that I look 
upon you as completely bought over 
by the powers that be ! All I want 
to know is, whether we are at enmity. 
As for me, too well you know me for 
a thorough-bred godson, who would 
sooner be lifted by the skin of his 
neck without howling, like a bull-dog, 
than give up loving his godmother, 
quand mSnie, on foot and on horse- 
back. A. DE MUSSET." 

And then comes a whimsical re* 
fusal on his part to believe that 
the Princess had left unperused the 
incriminated verses : — 

*^ Friday, October. 
" Indeed ! So Uranie really has not 
read the review. I hope you do not 
believe that I believe that you be- 
lieve that I shall believe this ! This 
kind of jest is strange to me, and my 
beautiful little godmother is too well 
acquainted with her godson's feelings 
to imagine he will swallow such a 
Jlam. He who won't admit of neu- 
ralgia, or only as in connection with 
a hollow tooth, a thing I am ac- 
quainted with and respect, because it 
hurts like the very devil ; but as for 
having a pamphlet lying before one's 
very eyes, dove di vol si favella, and 
yet not open it. No, my dear lady, 
I don't believe it ! 



" You are perhaps capable---{I don't 
feel sure of i^ but you nave it in you) 
— you are aipable of believing in this 
fine trait of a noble pride tnat you 
have told me of. For, jesting apisui:, 
with all your esprit^ which is univer- 
sally recognised as most exquisite, you 
are at times so wondrously innocent ! 
But again, no ! What a fool I am ! 
You are at least as nmch of a woman 
as I am, and not more than myself 
can you place any faith in what you 
wrote me. 

" At any rate I shall never believe 
it, albeit it be yourself that tell it 
me ! Never ! and in no wise — jws 
viSme qxuxnd vi^me ! Be that as it 
may, for a long time past I have been 
wishing to write a tale which shall 
be called " See-Saw," widely outlined 
thus : If you don't care for me, I care 
for you ; I draw back if you come 
forward, &c., — adorned with some de- 
tails from life. This would help to 
augment by some fifty pages the small 
Tom Jones (tome jaune) beginning 
at the staircase, not without resting 
on the first step, and from thence into 
the palace, and even further. What 
do you say to that ? On the way, as 
says Odry, you ai*e ever at liberty to 
lose your way ! The idea pleases me, 
and will you allow me to say some- 
thing in which all my modesty will 
shine ? If she doesn't read it . . . 
Well ? — well, then, many others will. 
And note this, Marraine, it is next to 
impossible for any one to be as much 
as every one. " But, Jieux, that will 
not be nice of you — a gentleman whose 
boots and clothes Pietro or Peter ha^^ 
blacked or brushed, should not lug a 
chatelaine into the * Revue,' nor have 
her bound in yellow paper ; and if ever 
you do such a thing, Pierre, Pietro, or 
Peter will nevermore black your )x>ota 
nor brush aught of yours again." True, 
Marraine, I must renounce the pleas- 
ure of the presence of your small but 
charming self when swallowing maca- 
roni aux tomates, and that also of 
looking at the small orange flower- 
buds, set in crimson satin, which serve 
as teeth to the beautiful person oi 
whom you are — I know not why — ^the 
mother. I must give up Leo'pardi'e 
nose, and B.'s hump, M. V.'s whiskers, 
. . . and — ^many other things. But then, 
you see, I have been driven wild. You 



1881.] 



A French Lady and her Friends, 



85 



do not know, godmother. No, you 
cannot know to what a degree I have 
been killed, destroyed, ruined. How I 
was led on and encouraged ! — what 
profound, perverse, and pernicious 
coquetry was displayed in cold blood 
i^ainst a poor devil who loves with all 
his heart, who vields himself up like 
a dolt, who used to go away quietly to 
cry hot tears half an hour before din- 
ner-time, and who hardly dared to 
speak in a whisper of it when giving 
his arm to take her in to dinner, but 
who wakes up sooner or later, never 
mind why, and who knows what to 
understand ! " . . . 

The next letter being character- 
istic, we also give some portions. 
It is as follows : — 

" Monday. 

" I must be terribly fond of you, 
madam, to foi*give you for fathoming 
me, and coming to tell me to my face 
exactly what I think. In your turn, 
YOU must admit that we men are often 
better than you women ; for never did 
I hear it told that a woman had for- 
given in similar circumstances, still 
less that she had given in, whereas I 
forgive and surrender. See how bon 
prince 1 am, yet you dare to call me 
Prince Grognon. I own, therefore, 
that I never had any real intention of 
writing the tale I spoke of — for that 
was impossible. There might be a 
way of doing the thing, presenting it 
as a joke, without entering into any 
very notable details, and showing 
these in a favourable light. It must 
stand till another time, whatever may 
come of that. It's rather too bad that 
a person of your stature should not be 
frightened when a gentleman of mine 
is in a passion. Per Bacco ! I take 
aim with my gun, and a wren flies off 
laughing in my face. I forgive you, 
but I will pay you out. 

"As for my verses, I hardly know 
whether or not to regret them. As 
/on said, madam, they were but a 
]Hyrtrait de circonstance. Here no one 
recognised the likeness. Some, as 
isual, thought it was meant for that 
poor Mme. Sand — d mopos de qiioi, at 
this time of day, I beg of you ; and 
mly fancy, Bonnaire has just left me, 
laying that the said verses should be 
»Titt«i — where do you suppose 1 — on 



Rachers tomb! 'But,' said I, 'do 
you really believe that I meant her ? ' 
* I don't aflirm anything,' he answered, 
with the air of the 'Misanthrope ; ' 

but still ' 'The dear public is 

certainly very spiteful, but I hold it 
to be yet far more stupid,' was my 
modest and gentle rejoinder, and our 
conversation went no further. 

" On one point I will not give in to 
you, because therein I am right ; and 
as I am wrong on so many, you may 
surely grant me this. You are mis- 
taken in comparing Miss Cbaworth to 
Lady Byron. You are wrong : only 
reflect how many thousands of senti- 
ments there are between these two 
extremes I Lady B. had lier husband's 
secretaire broken open, and an inquest 
made in order that he might be shut 
up as a madman. Mary Chaworth, it 
is true, taunted him with his lameness 
— a mean thing enough to do — but 
otherwise treated him pretty gently. 
Anyhow, M. Chaworth loved another, 
and in that gists the whole matter. 
In my maddest days of passion I 
never dreamt of bearing ill will to a 
woman who told me she cared for an- 
other. I may even boast that, under 
such circumstances, I showed courage 
and resignation. There is not much 
to glory over in the fact ; it is merely 
my way of feeling. As for a woman 
who had simply told me that she did 
not in the least care for me, I should 
have said nothing, but to this I never 
exposed myself ; but I have letters of 
Uranie in which she says, ' I believed 
that my friendship might be useful to 
you;' where she also says, 'You would 
have sufi'ered by my side, but not 
without alleviation.' I have held her 
hand, and kissed it for a minute at 
a time, she abandoning it to me. I 
have told her a hundred times that it 
was no bontie fortune I sought with 
her ; that my vanity was in no wise in 
play ; that I sued only for a word of 
friendship to make me happy for a 
whole day. She both saw it and be- 
lieved it ; yet she kept me a whole 
week in her house, affecting every 
moment to avoid any occasion of 
speaking to me, treating me as a 
stranger. . . . Now this is wicked and 
hateful. I have more than a dozen 
letters of hers, speaking of her friend- 
ship, — does friendship consist in tak- 



86 



A French Lady and her Friends. 



[July 



ing an arm into dinner? What a 
joke ! , . . Be sure of this, she led me 
on, out of disosuvrement, to get some 
amusement out of me, and make me 
play the rdUf purely and simply, of a 
jMtito. You know in what that con- 
sists. I would not. Then came her 
ill treatment As for me, I sincerely 
believed in her make-believe friend- 
ship, which was but a comedy, a mere 
mssetemps, and which stopped short 
as soon as she saw me give in and 
surrender. . . . Forgive me this long 
story, Marraine ; as you have some 
friendship for me (and in yours I be- 
lieve), you must bear the penalty. 
I am still horribly dull, malgr^ tout, 
and I cannot help chattering when I 
know I am speaking to one who can 
and will understand me. Let's speak 
no more of it. . . . Good-bye, Mar- 
raine ; when you open your window 
in the morning to smoke a cigar, look 
towards the bridge of Le Pecq, and 
say to yourself, *My godson is very 
silly, but whilst here they deride him, 
over there he suffers.' 

"A.DEM." 

The Marraine helped to bring 
matters to a pacific ending between 
the Princess and her once lover-poet, 
so that we find the last letters given 
us by Madame Jaubert contain 
hardly any direct mention of her, 
time and absence having in some 
measure healed the wound, whoso 
smarting is, however, still betrayed 
by many a sad allusion, as in this 
letter, for instance : — 

" A note soumled by you, my blond 
and small Marraine, is, and will be 
ever, at my diapason ; we have in all 
things and so often given each other 
our la, as to be certain of remaining 
in tune, our instrument being good. 
Your poppy touched me, the i)oor 
thing. You should have sent me a 
leaf of it, and compared me to it, — 
shifting, ever whirling, untidy, it is 
my very image ! But alas ! and ahis ! 
no longer is it the breath of passion 
that makes me whirl and go nuid. I 
am no longer even a poppy. My old 
heart, which remains stationary at 
fifteen years of age, is so well aware 
of its own folly that it dares not wish 



even for Goquelicoquettes. . . . You 
are a long way oflf yet, little Marraine, 
from the frightful becalming to which 
I am resignetl, but vou will grow to it 
infaUibly." 

Following this one, a letter is 
given which was received at the 
time with much pleasure by Ma- 
dame Jaubert, for it manifested a 
wish to resume work, and contained 
evidence of the process of poetical 
fermentation being already begun 
in De Musset's brain. 

" Madam, I have just returned from 
my guard duty, and Apropos of some 
rubbish in a newspaper I am furious, in- 
dignant, and holding forth at breakfast 
Would you do me an act of charity ? 
My heart and hand are full to over- 
flowing. If you feel better, take a pea 
one of these evenings, and just as you 
feel — at haphazard, but very down- 
rightly — write me reproach on re- 
proach on the score of my idleness. 
This seems an odd proposition, yet I 
pray you have the courage to accept 
it. I wish to answer that letter by 
verses (without any name, &urn entetidu)^ 
but I require the shuttlecock to be 
tlirown at me by a battledore, and you 
only can strike it up to me. I must, 
if I speak at all, speak in conscience, 
and am incapable of imagining aught. 
Begin hy laughing at this nonsense, e 
poi send me a beat of your heart ; I will 
return it you. A. de M." 

This is the last bright badinaf/e 
from the great poet Madame Jaubert 
gives. Though all the letters are 
undated, we know that this brings 
us to the close of 1853; and the 
following year the Marraine re- 
marked the frequent alternatives of 
ill health, which reacted painfully 
on his mind, producing very con- 
stant low spirits. The heart-dis- 
ease which was finally to carry hir 
off, became more and more violen 
The overstrained heart worked it 
vengeance on the poet who ha< 
made such undue calls on it 
powers and pastimes ! 

Poor De :Musset ! like Thekla h 
had tasted — nay, more than tastec^ 



1881.] 



A Frencft Lady and Tier Friends. 



87 



he had drained — the cup of earth's 



supreme joy, 



'he had lived and 



loved." Love had martyred him, 
but his faithful poet votary never 
denied him. In his worst pangs 
he dies out in verses of unrivalled 
beauty — 

" . . . Ce ftLt sans donte une horrible 

mis^re. 
. . . £h bien ! qn'importe encore ? 

nature ! O ma m^re ! 
£n ai-je moins aime T 

La foudre maintenant peat tomber sor 

ma tdte. 
Jamais ce sonvenir ne pent m*etre ar- 

rache ; 
Comme le matelot brise par la tempeto 
Je m'y tiens attache ! 

Je ne yenx rien savoirl Ni si les 

champs flenrissent, 
Ni ce quHl adviendra dn simnlacre 

hnmain 
Ni si cea vastes cieux eclaireront demain 
Ce qa*il9 en se velissent ! 

Je me dis senlement. A cette henre, 
en ce lien, 

Un ionr je fas aime, j'aimais, elle 
etait belle. 

J'enfonis ce tresor dans mon &me im- 
mortelle, 

Et je Temporte & Dien ! 

Prom De Musset to Heine the 
transition is indeed slight, for 
both men were simultaneously the 
representative poets of their re- 
spective countries in this century ; 
and, like De Musset, Heine was 
the poet of youth and love. We 
therefore pass those sentences in 
which Madame Jaubert speaks of 
Pierre Lanfrey, the historian and 
political writer, to stop at the more 
interesting pages dedicated to her 
reminiBcences of Heine, and the 
letters she received from him. 

She made his acquaintance at a 
ball in the beginning of 1835. He 
then looked younger than his age 
[thirty-five), which he used to state 
laughingly, by affirming he was the 



first man of his century. He spoke 
French with some slight difficulty, 
giving to his thoughts, nevertheless, 
a piquant form and dress. An 
animated conversation commenced, 
in which Heine expressed his dis- 
approval of and impatience at the 
hackneyed admiration of the French 
for such idols as Goethe and Byron, 
when they had un poete par excel- 
lence of their own, such as De Mus- 
set, whose writings were almost un- 
known; and this was in fact the 
case at that date.^ The interest of 
the conversation was doubtless not 
all on one side, and was such as led 
the poet to wish for further know- 
ledge of the spirituelle little lady. 
The result was the beginning of 
their long correspondence and in- 
timacy, which lasted till his life's 
close. The prelude was the fol- 
lowing letter, and the envoi of one 
of Heine's works : — 

" I have the honour, madam, to 
send you herewith my book on Ger- 
many. I invite you to read the Part 
6th. I speak in it of ondines, sala- 
manders, gnomes, and sylphs. I am 
well aware that my information on 
these is very incomplete, albeit I have 
read in their original tongues the 
works of the great Aureolua, Theo- 
phrastus, Paracelsus, Bombastus de 
Hohenheim. But when 1 wrote my 
book, I had never seen any of these 
elementary spirits. I even doubted 
their being aught else than the crea- 
tions of our own imaginations, haunt- 
ing rather men's dreams than dwelling 
in the elements. . . . Since the day 
before yesterday, however, I believe 
in the reality of their existence. I 
saw a foot tne day before yesterday 
which can belong only to one of these 
beings of fantasy of whom 1 have 
spoken in my book ; but is it an 
ondine's ? I fancy it must glide like 
water, and mij^ht very well dance on 
the waves. Or does it belong to a 
salamander? *It is not cold,' saysf 



• M. G^nisez, professeur de litt^rature H la Soibonne, about this time brought De 
Musset to the notice of his auditors as '* une etoile qui se l^ve." 
t Quoted from Andr^ by Geoi^es Sand. 



8S 



A FrencJi Lady and her Friends. 



[July 



Joseph Marteau to Genevieve when 
the lair fleuriste^s foot sets fire to his 
imagination. Perhaps it is the foot 
of a gnome ; it is small, pretty, and 
high-bred enough for that. Or maybe 
it is the foot of a sylph ? She to 
whom it belongs is indeed so aerial, 
so fairy-like. ... Is she a good or a 
wicked fairy ? I know not ; and the 
doubt worries me, makes me anxious, 
and weighs upon me. It's true. I 
am not jesting. 

"Whereby you will perceive, ma- 
dam, that I am not sufficiently an 
adept in occult science — ^that I am no 
great conjuror, but only your very 
humble and obedient servant, 

" Henri Heine. 

''AprU 22, IS35." 

The doubt which Heine thus ex- 
pressed as to kindness being per- 
haps wanting in Madame Jaubert 
was identical, oddly enough, with 
a feeling she harboured against him, 
and which long prevented her from 
entering fully and freely into friend- 
ship with him. His sharp sayings 
produced on her from the first an 
unpleasant impression, which all 
his charm of wit and imagination 
even had much to do to counter- 
balance. Yet he was invaluable, 
she tells us, in her salon, where he 
animated all and everything with 
his shining mind, which was, as 
it were, spangled. The drawback 
to this precious element in her 
circle was his incisive and unfailing 
irony, which found victims he re- 
lentlessly showed up ; and that, 
with characteristical German persist- 
ency, he unremittingly pursued, to 
the dismay of the hostess. Her 
whole and devoted friendship, 
united to her admiration, was ob- 
tained later on, at the sight of his 
intolerable sufferings, borne with the 
noblest fortitude. Every successive 
and aggravated ill that befell him 
was accepted bravely, gaily indeed, 



with a jest that rendered it difficult 
for bis friends to treat seriously 
what he took himself so lightly. 
When the hideous creeping paraly- 
sis, which was finally to make a 
living corpse of his poor frame, 
had robbed him of sight, he onlj 
said, " Je perds la vie, mais comme 
le rossignol, je n'en chanterai que 
mieux." 

Writing to congratulate Madame 
Jaubert on her daughter's conval- 
escence, he says : — 

" IZth April 1847. 

"I have lived through a terrible 
winter, and am astonished at not hav- 
ing succumbed. It will be for another 
time. 

" I am delighted at the news you 
give me of your daughter ; she ia 
youn^, and will be soon strong again. 
1 shall come to see you ere long, l^ng 
curious to see Madame de Grignan** 
in the character of reconvalescent. 
She must be much pulled down, and 
thinness lends her doubtless a new 
charm. Flesh after all but hides the 
lines of beauty, which is not revealed 
in its whole ideal splendour till after 
illness has animated our form. As for 
me, I have thus adonis^ jvsqyUau. tqutlet- 
tisme ! The pretty women in the street 
turn back to stare at me when I pass. 
My closed eyes (only the eighth part 
of my right eye remains uncovered), 
my hollow cheeks, my delirious beard, 
my tottering gait, all give me a look 
of the last agony, which wonderfully 
suits my style. I have a real succcsa 
at the present time as vMrihond. I 
devour liearts, only I cannot digest 
them. I am actually a very killing 
person, and you will see that the Mar- 
([uise Christine Trivulzio will fall in 
love with me. I am quite the grave* 
yard bone that she requires. 

" Adieu, best and fairest ! God 
keep you from embellishing after my 
fashion. To His safe and holy keep- 
ing I commend you. H. H." 

The tender pity provoked at the 
sight of this cruel martyrdom, thai 



* A name he freauently bestows on the Marquise de la Grange, Madame Jaubert': 
daughter, in playful allusion to the closeness of the bond between the mother ant' 
daughter. 



1881.] 



A French Lady and her Friends. 



89 



he bore with such heroic resigna^ 
tion, is told in many interestiog 
pages, which space denies our dwell- 
ing on. Madame Jaubert gives us 
also many facts aa to his taste in 
music, painting, and sculpture. She 
tells of the attraction that pale 
beauties, with regular features and 
a spectral sort of charm, had for 
him. She dwells on the extraor- 
dinary and fatal fascination that 
his last love — his wife — exerted 
over him to the very end. A 
round, full-faced woman, with large 
black eyes, a smiling mouth filled 
with whitest teeth, and fully de- 
veloped figure. Her voice in par- 
ticular was a perpetual delight to 
Heine — his praises of it were con- 
stant ; and he told Madame Jaubert 
that, during his long agony, that 
Toice had recalled his spirit " at 
the very moment when decidedly 
it was taking flight towards the un- 
known futurity." Her magnetic 
power over him was, he said, irre- 
sistible. One night that he was 
shaken by a murderous spasm of 
so terrific a nature as to seem the 
sure prelude of death itself, his 
wife took his cold hand, chafed and 
warmed it, and he heard her say 
amidst her sobs, " No, Henri, no ! 
you shall not die ; you must have 
pity on me ! My parrot died this 
morning, and if I were to lose you 
I should be too wretched." Heine's 
quaint comment was, " It was an 
order, and I obeyed and kept alive, 
when such good reasons are given, 
you know." 

The naif form of speech of his 

unsophisticated wife was always a 

pleasure to him ; and his tender 

•rotecting care of her was such, up 

o the last, as to render not only 

olerable, but pleasant, the igno- 

ance and inexperience that would 

otherwise have been insufferable. 

She has never read a line of my 

/ritings," he merrily confided to 



Madame Jaubert, and does not 
even know what a poet is ! " 

Notwithstanding his desperate 
condition, he took upon himself all 
the many worrying cases of their 
household, the paying of bills, &c., 
leaving her free to mind her parrot 
and her flowers. He was most scru- 
pulous in balancing the accounts 
of his expenditure ; and we own to 
having been touched to the quick 
at Madame Jaubert's account of the 
hiind and paralysed poet paying 
the maid the slight sum she re- 
quired from a small bag that he 
would draw from under his pillow, 
fumbling at it till he had opened 
it, and taken thence the requisite 
amount. Madame Jaubert tells 
also of the generosity of his nature, 
and of the ingenious delicacy he 
would show in oflering appropriate 
gifts and souvenirs to his friends 
on the authorised occasions of birth- 
days and fSte days ; but above all, 
and over and over again, does she 
tell of the fearful torture borne 
without any loss of self-possession. 
In the spring of 1848 some slight 
hopes had been raised by an im- 
provement in his symptoms, due 
to a new doctor and his treatment: 
he had recovered the use of his 
hands and the power of taste. One 
eyelid had also reacquired the 
power of being slightly raised ; but 
these anticipations of recovery were 
not of long duration. 

He dictated the following letter 
on the 19th of September 1848 to 
Madame Jaubert, of which only the 
signature was in his hand : — 

" Little Fairy (for by this name, of 
Madame Heine's bestowal, are you 
known in our home), — I have yet to 
thank you for your first amiable letter, 
written when starting for Les Roches 
or for Madame de Grignan*s, I know 
not which. This morning I got your 
second letter, the affection and piety 
of which do me good, though the news 
it brings is hardly matter for rejoicing ; 



90 



A French Lady and her Friends. 



[July 



but to tell the truth, I am so stuimed 
by physical pain that this ill news, of 
the failure at the Foreign OflSce, hardly 
touches me : it is as a pin-pribk to a 
man stretched on the red-hot coals of 
torture. ... I write to-day to let 
you know that to-morrow you will no 
longer find me in my Villa Dolorosa at 
Passy, which I am leaving for Paris. . . . 
Since I last had the comfort of seeing 
you, my ills have augmented, and cer- 
tain alarming symptoms have decided 
my return to Paris. I do not wish to 
be buried at Passy — the graveyards 
there must be very dull. I want to 
get nearer to that of Montmartre, 
which I have long since chosen for 
my last abode. 

" My cramps have been without in- 
termission, — they have invaded the 
whole spinal column, and reach up to 
the brain, where they may have effect- 
ed greater damage than I am myself 
tit to ascertain. Religious thoughts 
come to the surface. 

" Good-bye, Little Fairy. May God 
forgive you your enchantments, and 
take you under His holy and safe 
keeping. Henri Heine." 

Madame Jaubert saw the poet for 
the last time four days before his 



death. He was in full possession 
of all bis powers of mind and con- 
versation, and aware that his end 
was very near at hand. On her 
taking leave he kept his friend's 
little hand for some time in his 
own, and murmured, '' It will he 
prudent not to delay long if you 
wish to see me again." On the 
night of the 16th February 1856 
he died. He had questioned his 
physician, and learnt that his de- 
liverance was at hand ; and death, 
that he met so calmly, and awaited 
so bravely, gave him no harsh treat- 
ment, but set a strange seal of beauty 
on the worn, emaciated, and dis- 
figured frame of the tortured poet, 
who lay transfigured on his death- 
bed in a return to youth and beauty. 
And with his end, end also Ma- 
dame Jaubert's " Souvenirs." They 
are a graceful monument to the 
friendship of these famous men, in 
whose intimacy her life had been 
lived, " whose bodies are buried 
in peace, but whose name liveth 
evermore." 



1881.J 



King Bemba*8 Point : A West African Story, 



91 



KING BEMBA'S POINT. 



A WEST AFRICAN STORY. 



We were for the moat part a 
queer lot ont on that desolate soath- 
ireet African coast^ in charge of the 
Tarions trading stations that were 
Bcatteied along the coast, from the 
Graboon river, past the mouth of the 
mightyCongo,to the Portuguese city 
of St Paul de Loanda. A mixture 
of all sorts, especially of had sorts — 
broken-down clerks, men who could 
not succeed anywhere else, sailors, 
youths, and some whose characters 
would not have borne any investi- 
gation ; and we very nearly all drank 
hard, and those who didn't drink 
hard, took more than was good for 
ihem. 

I don't know exactly what in-" 
duced me to go out there. I was 
young for one thing, the country 
was unknown, the berth was vacant, 
and the conditions of it easy. 

Imagine a high rocky point or 
headland, stretching out sideways 
into the sea, and at its base a small 
river winding into a country that 
was seemingly a blank in regard to 
inhabitants or cultivation — a land 
continuing for miles and miles, as 
far as the eye could see, one expanse 
of long yellow grass, dotted here and 
there with groups of bastard palms. 
In front of the headland rolled 
the lonely South Atlantic ; and, as 
if such conditions were not dispirit- 
ing enough to existence upon the 
Point, there was yet another feature 
which at times gave the place a 
till more ghastly look. A long 
ray o£P the shore, the heaving sur- 
ace of the ocean began, in anything 
ike bad weather, to break upon the 
ihoals of the coast. Viewed from 
•be top of thjB rock, the sea at such 
imes looked, for at least two miles 
rat, as if it were scored over with 



lines of white foam ; but lower 
down, near the beach, each roller 
could he distinctly seen, and each 
roller had a curve of many feet, 
and was an enormous mass of water 
that hurled itself shorewards until 
it curled and broke. 

"When I first arrived on the Point 
there was, I may say, only one 
house upon it, and that belonged to 
Messrs Flint Brothel's of Liverpool. 
It was occupied by one solitary 
man named Jackson : he had had an 
assistant, but the assistant had died 
of fever, and I was sent to replace 
him. Jackson was a man of fifty at 
least, who had been a sailor before 
he had become an African trader. 
His face bore testimony to the 
winds and weather it had encoun- 
tered, and wore habitually a grave 
if not melancholy expression. He 
was rough but kind to me, and 
though strict was just, which was 
no common feature in an old Afri- 
can hand to one who had just ar- 
rived on the coast. 

He kept the factory — we called 
all houses on the coast factories — 
as neat and clean as if it had been 
a ship. He had the floor of the 
portion we dwelt in holystoned every 
week ; and numberless little racks 
and shelves were fitted up all over 
the house. The outside walls glit- 
tered with paint, and the yard was 
swept clean every morning ; and 
every Sunday, at eight o'clock and 
sunset, the ensign was hoisted and 
lowered, and an old cannon fired at 
the word of command. Order and 
rule were with Jackson observed 
from habit, and were strictly en- 
forced by him on all the natives 
employed in the factory. 

Although I have said the coun- 



92 



King Bembda Point : A West African Story. 



[July 



try looked as if uninhabited, there 
were numerous villages hidden away 
in the long grass and brushwood, 
invisible at a distance, being huts 
of thatch or mud, and not so high 
as the grass among which they were 
placed. From these villages came 
most of our servants, and also the 
middlemen, who acted as brokers 
between us, the white men, and the 
negroes who brought ivory, and 
gum, and india-rubber from the far 
interior for sale. Our trade was prin- 
cipally in ivory, and when an un- 
usually large number of elephants' 
tusks arrived upon the Point for sale 
it would be crowded with bushmen, 
straDge and uucouth, and hideously 
ugly, and armed, and then we would 
be very busy; for sometimes as many 
as two hundred tusks would be 
brought to us at the same time, and 
each of these had to be bargained 
for and paid for by exchange of 
cotton cloths, gims, knives, powder, 
and a host of small wares. 

For some time after my arrival, 
our factory, along with the others on 
the coast belonging to Messrs Flint 
Brothers, was very well supplied by 
them with goods for the trade ; but 
by degrees their shipments became 
less frequent, and small when they 
did come. In spite of repeated 
letters we could gain no reason from 
the firm for this fact, nor could the 
other factories, and gradually we 
found ourselves with an empty 
storehouse, and nearly all our goods 
gone. Then followed a weary inter- 
val, during which we had nothing 
whatever to do, and day succeeded 
day through the long hot season. It 
was now that I began to feel that 
Jackson had become of late more 
silent and reserved with me than ever 
he had been. I noticed, too, that he 
had contracted a habit of wandering 
out to the extreme end of the Point, 
where he would sit for hours gazing 
upon the ocean before him. In ad- 
dition to this he grew morose and 



uncertain in his temper towards the 
natives, and sometimes he would 
fall asleep in the evenings on a sofe, 
and talk to himself at such a rate 
while asfeep that I would grow fright- 
ened, and wake him, when he would 
stare about him for a little until he 
gathered consciousness, and then 
he would stagger ofip to bed to fall 
asleep again almost immediately. 
Also his hands trembled much, and 
he began to lose flesh. All this 
troubled me, for his own sake as 
well as my own, and I resolved to 
ask him to see the doctor of the 
next mail-steamer that came. With 
this idea I went one day to the end 
of the Point, and found him in his 
usual attitude, seated on the long 
grass, looking seaward. He did 
not hear me approach, and when 
I spoke he started to his feet, and 
demanded fiercely why I disturbed 
him. I replied, as mildly as I 
could, for I was rather afraid of the 
glittering look that was in his eyes, 
that I wished to ask him if he did 
not feel ilL 

He regarded me with a steady 
but softened glance for a little, and 
then said — 

" My lad, I thank you for your 
trouble ; but I want bo doctor. Do 
you think I'm looking iU ? " 

** Indeed you are," I answered, 
" ill and thin ; and, do you know, I 
hear you talk to yourself in your 
sleep nearly every night." 

"What do I say?" he asked, 
eagerly. 

**That I cannot tell," I replied. 
'* It is all rambling talk — the same 
things over and over again, and 
nearly all about one person — Lucy." 

" Boy 1 " he cried out, as if : 
pain, or as if something had tone 
ed him to the quick, "sit yc 
down, and I'll tell you why I thin 
of her — she was my wife." 

He moved nearer to the edge < 
the cliff, and we sat down, almos 
over the restless sea beneath us. 



1881.] 



King Bemba*8 Point : A West African Stoi-y. 



93 



" She lives in my memory," he 
continued, speaking more to him- 
self than to me, and looking far out 
to the horizon heneath which the 
setting sun had hegun to sibk, ^* in 
spite of all I can do or think of to 
make her appear base in my eyes. 
For she left me to go with another 
man — a scoundrel. This was how 
it was," he added, quickly : ** I mar- 
ried her, and thought her as pure 
as a flower ; but I could not take 
her to sea with me because I was 
only the mate of a vessel, so I left 
her among her own friends, in the 
village where she was born. In a 
little cottage by herself I settled 
her, comfortable and happy as I 
thought. God! how she hung 
round my neck and sobbed when 
I went away the first time ! and yet 
— ^yet — within a year she left me." 
And he stopped for several minutes, 
resting his head upon his hands. 
"At first I could get no trace of 
her," he resumed. "Her friends 
knew nothing more of her than that 
she had left the village suddenly. 
Gradually I found out the name 
of the scoundrel who had seduced 
her away. He had bribed her 
friends so that they were silent; but 
I over -bribed them with the last 
money that I had, and I followed 
him and my wife on foot. I never 
found them, nor did I ever know 
why she had deserted me for him. 
If I had only known the reason ; 
if I could have been told of my 
fault; if she had only written to 
say that she was tired of me ; that 
I was too old, too rough for her 
soft ways, — I think I could have 
borne the heavy stroke the villain 
id dealt me better. The end of 
ly search was that I dropped 
i>wn in the streets of Liverpool, 
hither I thought I had tracked 
leno, and was carried to the hos- 
ital with brain fever upon me. 
wo months afterwards I came out 
ired, and the sense of my loss 



was deadened within me, so that I 
could go to sea again, which I did, 
before the mast, under the name of 
Jackson, in a barque that traded 
to this coast here." And the old 
sailor rose to his feet and turned 
abruptly away, leaving me sitting 
alone. 

I saw that he did not wish to be 
followed, so I stayed where I was 
and watched the grey twilight 
creep over the face of the sea, and 
the night quickly succeed to it. 
]^ot a cloud had been in the sky 
all the day long, and as the dark- 
ness increased the stars came out, 
until the whole heavens were stud- 
ded with glittering gems. 

Suddenly, low down, close to 
the sea, a point of light flickered 
and disappeared, shone again for a 
moment, wavered and went out, 
only to reappear and shine steadily. 
'^A steamer's mast-head light," I 
thought, and ran to the house to 
give the news ; but Jackson had 
already seen the light, and pro- 
nounced it to be that of a mail- 
steamer, and shortly we saw her 
side-lights, and the sound of a gun 
announced that she had anchored 
until the morning. At daybreak 
there she was, dipping her sides to 
the swell of the sea as it rolled be- 
neath her. It was my duty to go 
off to her in one of the surf-boats 
belonging to the factory; and so 
I scrambled down the cliff to the 
little strip of smooth beach that 
served us for a landing-place. 

When I arrived there I found 
that the white-crested breakers were 
heavier than I had thought they 
would be. However, there was the 
boat lying on the beach with its prow 
towards the waves, and round it were 
the boat-boys with their loin-cloths 
girded, ready to start ; so I clam- 
bered into the stem, or rather — for 
the boat was shaped alike at stem 
and stern — the end from which the 
steersman, or patrao^ used his long 



94 



King Bemba^s Point : A West African Story, 



[Jnly 



oar. With a shout the boys laid 
hold of the sides of the boat, and 
the next moment it was dancing on 
the spent waves next to the beach. 
The patrao kept its head steady, 
and the boys jumped in and seized 
the oars, and began pulling with a 
will, standing up to their stroke. 
Slowly the heavy craft gathered 
way, and approached a dark and 
unbroken roller that hastened to- 
wards the beach. Then the patrao 
shouted to the crew, and they lay 
on their oars, and the wave with 
a roar burst right in front of the 
boat, sending the spray of its 
crest high above our heads. 

" Bema I rema for^a / " (row 
strongly,) now shouted the patrao, 
speaking Portuguese, as mostly all 
African coast natives do, — and the 
crew gave way. The next roller 
we had to meet in its strength; 
and save for the steady force of the 
2?atrao^8 oar, I believe it would have 
tossed us aside and we would have 
been swept under its curving wall 
of water. As it was, the good boat 
gave a mighty bound as it felt its 
force, and its stem pitched high 
into the air as it slid down its 
broad back into the deep. 

Another and yet another wave 
were passed, and we could now see 
them breaking behind us, shutting 
out the beach from view. Then 
the last roller was overcome, and 
there was nothing but the long 
heave of the deep sea to contend 
against. Presently we arrived at 
the steamer, whose side towered 
above us, an iron walL 

A shout came. to me, pitching 
and lurching with the boat far 
below, " Come on board at once." 
But to come on board was only 
to be done by watching a chance 
as the boat rose on the top of a 
roller. Taking such a one, I seized 
the side-ropes, swung a moment in 
mid-air, and the next was on the 
steamer's clean white deck. Be- 



fore me stood a tall man with 
black hair and whiskers, and dark 
piercing eyes, who asked me if X 
was the agent for Flint Brothers. 
I answered that the agent was 
on shore, and that I was his as- 
sistant Whereupon he informed 
me that he had been appointed 
by the firm to liquidate all their 
stations and businesses on the 
coast, and ^'he would be obliged 
by my getting his luggage into 
the boat." This was said in a 
peremptory sort of way, as if he 
had spoken to a servant ; and very 
much against the grain I obeyed 
his orders. 

That the man was new to the 
coast was evident, and my conso> 
lation was that he would be very 
soon sick of it and pretty well 
frightened before he even got on 
shore, for the weather was fresh- 
ening rapidly, a fact of which he 
appeared to take no heed. Not so 
the boat-boys, who were anxious to 
be off. At last we started, and I 
soon had my revenge. As we dre'w 
near the shore the rollers rolled 
higher and higher, and I perceived 
that my gentleman clutched the 
gunwale of the boat very tightly, 
and when the first wave that 
showed signs of breaking overtook 
us, he grew very white in the face 
until it had passed. 

The next one or two breakers 
were small, much to his relief I 
could see, though he said nothing. 
Before he had well recovered his 
equanimity, however, a tremendous 
wave approached us somewhat sud- 
denly. Appalled by its threatening 
aspect, he sprang from his seat and 
seized the arm of the patrao, vrh 
roughly shook him off. 

" My God 1 " he cried, " we a 
swamped ! " and for the momex 
it really looked like it ; but th 
patrao, with a dexterous sweep i 
his long oar, turned the boat's hea 
towards the roller. It broke ju' 



mi.] 



King BenMs Point : A West African Story. 



96 



iA it Teached us and gave us the 
benefit of its crest, which came in 
over the top sides of the boat as 
it passed bj, and deluged every 
one of us. 

I laughed, although it was no 
laughing matter, at the plight the 
liquidator was now in. He was 
changed in a moment from a spruce 
and natty personage into a miser- 
able and draggled being. From 
every part of him the salt water 
was streaming, and the curl was 
completely taken out of his whis- 
kers. He could not speak from 
terror, which the boat -boys soon 
saw, for none are quicker than 
negroes to detect signs of fear in 
those whom they are accustomed 
to consider superior to themselves. 
Familiar with the surf, and full 
of mischievous fun, they began to 
shout and gesticulate with the set- 
tled purpose of making matters ap- 
pear worse than they were, and of 
enjoying the white man's discom- 
fiture, — all but the patrao^ who 
was an old hand, and on whom 
depended the safety of us all. 
He kept a steady look-out sea- 
ward, and stood upright and firm, 
grasping his oar with both hands. 
With him it was a point of honour 
to bring the white men intrusted 
to his care safely through the surf. 
We waited for more than half an 
hoar, bow on, meeting each roller 
as it came to us ; and by the end 
of that time the unfortunate liqui- 
dator had evidently given up all 
hope of ever reaching the shore. 
Luckily, the worst was soon to 
pass. After one last tremendous 
wave there was a lull for a few 
I ments, and the patrao, who had 
^ \ched for such a chance, swiftly 
t ned the boat round, and giv- 
i the word to the crew, they 
] [led lustily towards the shore. 
] a few minutes we were again 
i safety. The boat grounded on 
1 beach ; the oars were tossed 



into the sea ; the crew sprang over- 
board, some of them seized the new 
ariival; I clambered on the back 
of the patrao ; a crowd of negroes, 
who had been waiting on the 
beach, laid hold of the tow-rope of 
the boat, and it and we were landed 
simultaneously on the dry sand. 

Once on shore Mr Bransome, for 
that was the new man's name, 
rapidly recovered his presence of 
mind and manner, and, by way of 
covering his past confusion, re- 
marked that he supposed the surf 
was seldom so bad as it then was. 
I replied in an off-hand way, 
meaning to make fun of him, that 
what he had passed through was 
nothing, and appealed to the patrao 
to confirm what I had said. That 
negro, seeing the joke, grinned all 
over his black face ; and Mr Bran- 
some, perceiving that he was being 
laughed at, snatched a good -sized 
stick from a native standing near, 
and struck the patrao repeatedly 
over the back. 

In vain Sooka, for that was the 
patrao's name, protested, and de- 
manded to know what wrong thing 
he had done. The agent was 
furious, and showered his blows 
upon the black. Equally in vain 
I shouted that Sooka had done well 
by us, and that he, Mr Bransome, 
was making an enemy of a man 
who would have him now and then 
in his power. At length Sooka 
took to his heels, and, sure enough, 
when he had got a little way ofi^, he 
began to threaten vengeance for 
what he had received. I sympa- 
thised with him, for I knew what 
a loss to his dignity it was to be 
beaten without cause before his 
fellows, and I feared that Mr Bran- 
some would indeed be sorry, sooner 
or later, for what he had done. 

I now suggested to him, by way 
of diverting his thoughts from poor 
Sooka, that standing on the beach 
in wet clothes was the very way to 



96 



King Bemba's Point : A West African Story. 



[July 



catch the coast fever straight off, 
and he instantly suffered himself 
to he carried up to the factory. 
There Jackson received him in a 
sort of "who on earth are youl" 
manner; and Mr Bransome, clear- 
ing his throat, announced himself 
and his authority, adding that he 
intended to make the factory a 
point of departure to all the others 
on the coast ; then, very ahruptly, 
he requested Jackson to prepare 
quarters for him without delay. 

The change that came over Jack- 
son's face as he learnt the quality 
of the stranger and his requests 
was great. The old salt, who had 
heen king of his house and of the 
Point for so long a time, had evi- 
dently never even thought of the 
prohahility of such an intrusion as 
was now presented to him, and he 
was amazed at what he considered 
to he the unwarrantahle assurance 
of the stranger. However, he re- 
covered himself smartly and asked 
the new man if he had any written 
credentials. 

"Certainly," replied he, pulling 
out a document all wet with salt 
water. "Here is a letter from 
Messrs Flint Brothers, of which, 
no douht, you will have a copy in 
your mail-bag." 

Jackson took the letter and 
opened it, and seemed to read it 
slowly to himself. All at once he 
started, looked at the new agent, 
advanced a step or two towards 
him, muttering, "Bransome, Bran- 
some," then stopped and asked him 
in a strange constrained voice, " Is 
your name Bransome 1 " 

" Yes," replied the latter, aston- 
ished at the old man's question. 

" I knew a Bransome once," said 
Jackson, steadily, "and he was a 
scoundrel." 

For a moment the two men 
looked at each other — Jackson with 
a gleam of hatred in his eyes, while 
Bransome had a curiously fright- 



ened expression on his fuse, which 
blanched slightly. But he quickij 
resumed his composure and per- 
emptory way, and said, "Show 
me a room ; I must get these wet 
things off me." 

As, however, he addressed him- 
self this time to me rather than to 
Jackson — who, indeed, regarded 
him no longer, but stood with the 
letter loose in his hand, looking at 
the floor of the room, as if in deep 
meditation — I showed him into my 
own room, where I ordered his 
trunks to be hrought. These, of 
course, were wet ; but he found 
some things in the middle of them 
that were not more than slightly 
damp, and with the help of a pair 
of old canvas trousers of mine he 
managed to make his appearance 
at dinner-time. 

Jackson was not at the meaL 
He had left the house shortly after 
his interview with the new agent, 
and had, I fancied, gone on one of 
his solitary rambles. At any rate 
he did not return until late that 
night. 

I thought Mr Bransome seemed 
to be somewhat relieved when be 
saw that the old man was not 
coming ; and he became more 
affable than I had expected him to 
be, and relinquished his arrogant 
style altogether when he hegan to 
question me about Jackson — ^who 
he was) what had he been) how 
long he had lived on the coast 1 
To all which questions I returned 
cautious answers, remembering that 
I was under a promise to the old 
man not to repeat his story. 

By the next morning, to my sur- 
prise, Jackson appeared to ha 
hecome reconciled to the fact tl 
he had been superseded by a m 
who knew nothing of the coa 
and of his own accord he offered 
tell Mr Bransome the clues to t 
letter -locks on the doors of t 
various store-rooms ; for we on 1 



1881.] 



King Be^nbd*s Point : A West African Story. 



97 



coast nsed none bat letter-locks, 
wbicli are locks that do not require 
a key to open them. But Mr 
Bransome expressed, most politely, 
a wish that Jackson should con- 
sider himself still in charge of the 
factory, at any rate nntU the whole 
estate of the unfortunate Flint 
Brothers could be wound up; and 
he trusted that his presence would 
make no difference to him. 

This was a change, on the part 
of both men, from the manners of 
the previous day ; and yet I could 
not help thinking that each but 
ill concealed his aversion to the 
other. 

Months now slipped away, and 
Mr Bransome was occupied in going 
up and down the coast in a little 
steamer, shutting up factory after 
factory, transferring their goods to 
OUTS, and getting himself much dis- 
liked by all the Europeans under 
him, and hated by the natives, 
especially by the boat-boys, who 
were a race or tribe by themselves, 
coming from one particular part of 
the coast. He had of course been 
obliged to order the dismissal of 
many of them, and this was one 
reason why they hated him; but 
the chief cause was his treatment 
of Sooka, the patrao. That man 
never forgave Mr Bransome for 
beating him so unjustly; and the 
news of the deed had travelled 
very quickly, as news does in sav- 
age countries, so that I think nearly 
all Sooka's countrymen knew of the 
act and resented it. 

Mr Bransome was quite unaware 
of the antipathy he had thus 
created toward himself, except so 
far as Sooka was concerned; and 
him he never employed when he 
had to go off to vessels or land 
from them, but always went in the 
other boat belonging to the fac- 
tory, which was steered by a much 
younger negro. In addition to 
humbling Sooka in this way, Bran- 

VOL. CXXZ. — ^NO. DCCLXXXIX. 



some took the opportunity of dis- 
gracing him whenever he could do 
so. Therefore, one day when two 
pieces of cloth from the cargo-room 
were found in the boatmen's huts, 
it was no surprise to me that Sooka 
was at once fastened upon by Mr 
Bransome as the thief who had 
stolen them, and that he was tied 
to the flogging-post in the middle 
of the yard, and sentenced to receive 
fifty lashes with the cat that was 
kept for such a purpose, and all 
without any inquiry being made. 
In vain did the unfortunate man 
protest his innocence. A swarthy 
Krootboy from Cape Coast laid the 
cat on his brown shoulders right 
willingly, for he also was an enemy 
of Sooka's ; and in a few minutes 
the poor fellow's flesh was cut and 
scored as if by a knife. 

After the flogging was over, Mr 
Bransome amused himself by get- 
ting out his rifle and firing fancy 
shots at Sooka, still tied to the 
post — that IB, he tried to put the 
bullets as close to the poor wretch 
as he could without actually wound- 
ing him. To a negro, with his 
dread of firearms, this was little 
short of absolute torture, and at 
each discharge Sooka writhed and 
crouched as close to the ground as 
he could, while his wide -opened 
eyes and mouth, and face of almost 
a slate colour, showed how terribly 
frightened he was. To Mr Bran- 
some it appeared to be fine sport, 
for he fired at least twenty shots 
at the man before he shouldered 
his rifle and went indoors. Jack- 
son said nothing to this stupid 
exhibition of temper, but as soon 
as it was over he had Sooka re- 
leased ; and I knew he attended to 
his wounds himself, and poured 
friar's -balsam into them, and cov- 
ered his back with a soft shirt — 
for all which, no doubt, the negro 
was afterwards grateful. Whether 
Mr Bransome got to know of this, 
a 



98 



King Bemba's Point : A West African Story. 



[July 



and was offended at it, I do not 
. know, but shortly afterwards he 
ceased to live with us. 

There was between the factory 
and the sea, and a little to the 
right of the former, a small wooden 
cottage which had been allowed to 
fall into a dilapidated state from 
want of some one to live in it This 
Mr Bransome gave orders to the 
native carpenters to repair and 
make weather - tight ; and when 
they had done so, he caused a quan- 
tity of furniture to be brought 
from St Paul de Loanda and placed 
within it Then he transferred 
himself and his baggage to the 
cottage. 

Jackson displayed complete in- 
difference to this change on the 
part of the agent. In fact there 
had been, ever since the arrival of 
the latter upon the Point, and in 
spite of apparent friendliness, a 
perceptible breach, widening djdly, 
between the two men. As to the 
reason of this I had my own sus- 
picions, for I had made the dis- 
covery that Jackson had for some 
time past been drinking very 
heavily. 

In addition to the brandy which 
we white men had for our own use, 
^ I had, to my horror, found out that 
he was secretly drinking the coarse 
and fiery rum that was sold to the 
natives ; and as I remembered the 
mutterings and moanings that had 
formerly alarmed me, I wondered 
that I had not guessed the cause of 
them at the time; but until the 
arrival of Mr Bransome, Jackson 
had always kept charge of the spirits 
himself, and he was such a secret 
old fellow that there was no know- 
ing what he had then taken. Now 
that I was aware of his failing, I 
was very sorry for the old sailor ; 
for on such a coast and in such a 
climate there was only one end to 
it ; and although I could not actu- 
ally prevent him from taking the 



liquor, I resolved to watch him, and 
if such symptoms as I had seen 
before again appeared, to tell Mr 
Bransome of them at all hazards. 
But I was too late to prevent what 
speedily followed my discovery. 
It had come about that the same 
mail-steamer that had brought out 
Mr Bransome had again anchored 
off the Point, and again the weather 
was coarse and lowering. A stiff 
breeze had blown for some days, 
which made the rollers worse than 
they had been for a long whilei 
Both Mr Bransome and Jackson 
watched the weather with eager 
looks, but each was differently af- 
fected by it Bransome appeared 
to be anxious and nervous, whilst 
Jackson was excited, and paced up 
and down the verandah, and kept, 
strange to say, for it was contrary 
to his late habit, a watch upon 
Bransome's every movement 

Every now and then, too, he 
would rub his hands together as 
if in eager expectation, and would 
chuckle to himself as he glanced 
seawards. Of his own accord he 
gave orders to Sooka to get both 
the surf-boats ready for launching, 
and to make the boys put on their 
newest loin-cloths; and then, when 
everything was in readiness, he 
asked Bransome if he was going off 
to the steamer. 

'* I fear I must," said Bransome ; 
"but I— I don't like the look of 
those cursed rollers." 

At this Jackson laughed, and 
said something about " being afraid 
of very little." 

" The beach is perfectly good," he 
added ; " Sooka knows, and Sooka 
is the oldest patrao on the Point.*' 

And Sooka, who was standing 
by, made a low obeisance to the 
agent, and said 'Hhat the beach 
lived for well," which was his way 
of expressing in Eaglish that the 
sea was not heavy. 

At that moment a gun was fired 



1881.] King Bemha's Point: A West African St(yi*y. 



99 



from the steamer as a si^i^al to be 
quick, and Bransome said, '' I T?ill 
go, but not in -that black black- 
guard's boat; it need not come," 
— and be went down to the beacb. 
It was one of Jackson's rules, 
that when a boat went through the 
Burf there sbould be some one to 
watch it, so I walked to the end of 
tbe Point to see the agent put off. 
He got away safely ; and I, seeing 
Sooka's boat lying on the beach, 
and thinking that it would be as 
well t-o have it hauled up under the 
boat-shed, was on the point of re- 
taming to tbe factory to give the 
necessary order, when, to my sur- 
prise, I saw the boat's crew rush 
down the beach to the boat and 
b^n to pnsh it towards the sea. 

I waved my arms as a signal to 
them to stop, but they paid no at- 
tention to me ; and I saw them run 
the boat into the water, jump into 
her, and pull off, all singing a song 
to their stroke in their own lan- 
guage, the sound of wbich came 
^dntly np to the top of the Point. 
"Stupid fellows," I muttered to 
myself, "they might have known 
that the boat was not wanted ;" and 
I was again about to turn away, 
when I was suddenly seized from 
behind, and carried to the very 
edge of the cliff, and then as sud- 
denly released. 

I sprang to one side and turning 
round saw Jackson, with a look of 
such savage fury on his face, that I 
retreated a step or two in astonish- 
ment at him. He perceived my 
alarm, and burst out into a fit of 
laughter, which, instead of reassur- 
ing me, had tbe opposite effect, it 
•ras so demoniacal in character. 
* Ha ! ha ! " be laughed again, 
'are you frightened?" and ad- 
ancing towards me, he put his face 
lose to mine, peering into it with 
)loodBhot eyes, while his breath, 
eeking of spirits, poured into my 
OBtrils. 



Involuntarily I put up my arm 
to keep him off. He clutched it, 
and pointing with his other hand 
to the sea, whispered hoarsely, 
" What do you hear of the surf? 
Will the breakers be heavier be- 
fore sundown ? See how they be- 
gin to curve ! Listen how they 
already thunder, thunder, on the 
beacb ! I tell you they are im- 
patient, — ^they seek some one," he 
shouted. " Do you know," he con- 
tinued, lowering his voice again, 
and speaking almost confidentially, 
" sooner or later some one is drown- 
ed upon that bar ? " And even as 
he spoke a fresh line of breakers 
arose from the deep, further out 
than any had been before. This 
much I observed, but I was too 
greatly unnerved by the strange 
manner of Jackson to pay further 
heed to the sea. It had flashed 
across my mind that he was on the 
verge of an attack of delirium tre- 
mens, from the effects of the liquor 
he had been consuming for so long, 
and the problem was to get him back 
to the house quietly. 

Suddenly a thought struck me. 
Putting my arm within his, I said, 
as coolly as I could, " Never mind 
the sea, Jackson ; let us have a 
matahicho " (our local expression for 
a " drink "). He took the bait, and 
came away quietly enough to the 
house. Once there, I enticed him 
into the dining-room, and shutting 
to the door quickly, I locked it on 
the outside, resolving to keep him 
there until Mr Bransome should 
return ; for, being alone, I was 
afraid of him. 

Then I went back to the end of 
the Point to look for the return of 
the two boats. When I reached it 
I saw that the rollers had increased 
in size in the short time that I had 
been absent, and that they were 
breaking, one after another, as fast 
as they could come shorewards — not 
pigmy waves, but great walls of 



100 



King Bemba^s Point : A West African Story. 



[July 



water that seemed from their height 
actually to waver along their huge 
length before they felL 

A surf such as I had never yet 
seen had arisen. I stood and anx- 
iously watched through a glass the 
boats at the steamer's side, and at 
length, to my relief, I saw one of 
them leave her; but as it came near, 
I saw, to my surprise, that Mr Bran- 
some was not in the boat, and that 
it was not the one that Sooka 
steered. Quickly it was overtaken 
by the breakers, but escaped their 
power, and came in -shore on the 
back of a majestic roller that did 
not break until it was close to 
the beach, where the boat was in 
safety. 

Not without vague apprehension 
at his imprudence, but still not an- 
ticipating any actual harm from it, 
I thought that Mr Bransome had 
chosen to come back in Sooka's 
boat, and I waited and waited to 
see it return, although the daylight 
had now so waned that I could no 
longer distinguish what was going 
on alongside the steamer. At last 
I caught sight of the boat, a white 
speck upon the waters, and, just as 
it entered upon the dangerous part 
of the bar, I discerned, to my in- 
finite amazement, that two figures 
were seated in the stern, — a man 
and a woman — a white woman; I 
could see her dress fluttering in 
the wind, and Sooka's black figure 
standing behind her. 
. On came the boat, impelled by 
the swift flowing seas, and for a 
quarter of an hour it was tossed on 
the crests of the waves. Again and 
again it rose and sank with them 
as they came rolling in, but some- 
how, after a little further time, it 
seemed to me that it did not make 
such way towards the shore as it 
should have done. 

I lifted the glass to my eyes, and 
I saw that the boys were hardly 
pulling at all, though the boat was 



now close to the rocks that were 
near the cliff. Nor did Sooka seem 
to be conscious of a huge roller that 
was swiftly approaching him. In 
my excitement I was just on the 
point of shouting to warn those in 
the boat of their danger, although 
I knew that they could not under- 
stand what I might say, when I 
saw Jackson standing on the edge of 
the cliff, a little way off, dressed in 
his shirt and trousers only. He had 
escaped from the house I He per- 
ceived that I saw him, and came 
running up to me, and I threw my- 
self on my guard. However, he 
did not attempt to touch me, bat 
stopped and cried — 

" Did I not tell you that some- 
body would be drowned by those 
waves 1 Watch that boat! watcli 
it ! it is doomed ; and the scoun- 
drel, the villain, who is in it will 
never reach the shore alive ! " and 
he hissed the last word through his 
clenched teeth. 

" Good God, Jackson ! " I said, 
^* don't say that. Look, there is a 
white woman in the boat ! " 

At the words his jaw dropped, 
his form, which a moment before 
had swayed with excitement, be- 
came rigid, and his eyes stared at 
me as if he knew, but comprehended 
not, what I had said. Then he 
slowly turned his face towards the 
sea, and as he did so, the mighty 
breaker that had been coming up 
astern of the boat curled over it. 
For a moment or two it rushed 
forward, a solid body of water, car- 
rying the boat with it; and in those 
moments I saw, to my horror, Sooka 
give one sweep with his oar, whic^* 
threw the boat's side towards tl 
roller. I saw the boat -boys l& 
clear of the boat into the surf; 
saw the agonised faces of the m 
and the woman upturned to t 
wave above them, and then t 
billow broke, and nothing was se^ 
but a sheet of frothy water. TJ 



1881.] 



King Bemha's Point : A West African Story, 



101 



boat and those in it had disappeared. 
For the crew I had little concern — 
I knew they would come ashore safe- 
ly enough ; but for Mr Bransome and 
the woman, whoever she was, there 
was little hope. They had not had 
time to throw themselves into the 
sea before the boat had capsized, 
and their clothing would sink them 
in such a surf, even if they had 
escaped being crushed by the boat. 
Besides, I feared there had been 
some foul play on the part of 
Sooka. Quickly as he had done 
it, I had seen him with his oar put 
the boat beyond the possibility of 
escaping from the wave, and I re- 
membered how he had been treated 
by Bransome. 

With such thoughts I ran along 
the cliff to the pathway that led 
down to the beach ; and as I ran, I 
saw Jackson nmning before me, not 
steadily or rightly, but heavily, and 
swaying from side to side as he 
went Quickly I passed him, but 
he gave no sign that he knew any 
one wajs near him ; and as I leaped 
down on to the first ledge of rock 
below me, I saw that he was not 
following me, but had disappeared 
among the brushwood. 

When I got down to the beach, 
I found that the boat's crew had 
reached the shore in safety, but of 
the two passengers nothing had 
been seen. The capsized boat was 
sometimes visible as it^lifted on the 
roUeiSy but through my glass I saw 
, that no one was clinging to it. I 
caUed for Sooka, but Sooka was 
missing. Every one had seen him 
land, but he had disappeared mys- 
teriously. In vain I questioned the 
'ther boys as to the cause of the 
lisaster. The only answer I could 
et out of them was an appeal to 
)ok at the sea and judge for 
nyself. The woman was a white 
roman from the big ship, was all 
they could say about her ; and, 
legro-like, they evidently consid- 



sidered the loss of a woman or so 
of very little consequence. 

All I could do was to set a watch 
along the beach to look for the 
bodies when they should be wt^hed 
ashore, and this done, I returned 
to the factory. My next desire was 
to find Sooka, He could hardly 
have gone far, so I sent for a run- 
ner to take a message to the native 
king under whose protection we 
on the Point were, and after whom 
the Point was called, and who was 
bound to find the missing man for 
me if he could, or if he had not 
been bribed to let him pass. 

In my sorrow at what had hap- 
pened, and in my doubt as to the 
cause of it, I had forgotten all 
about Jackson ; but after I had de- 
spatched my messenger to the king, 
I went to look for him. I discov- 
ered him crouching in a comer of 
his own bedroom in the dark. 

" Are they found % " he asked, in 
a voice so hollow and broken that 
I hardly knew it; and before I 
could answer him, he whispered to 
himself, ** No, no; they are drowned 
— drowned." 

I tried to lead him into the 
lighted dining-room, but he only 
crouched the closer to his corner. 
At length by the promise of the 
ever -potent temptation, liquor, I 
got him to leave the room. He 
could scarcely walk though, now, 
and he trembled so violently that 
I was glad to give him part of a 
bottle of brandy that I had by me. 
He filled a tumbler half full of the 
spirits, and drank it off. This put 
strength into him, and for a little 
he was calm ; but as he again and 
again applied himself to the bottle, 
he became drunk, and swore at me 
for my impudence in giving orders 
without his sanction. On this I 
tried to take the bottle from him, 
but he clutched it so firmly that I 
had to let it go ; whereupon he im- 
mediately put it to his lips and swal- 



102 



King Bemha's Point : A West African Story. 



[July 



lowed the rest of the liquor that 
was in it. After which he gave a 
chuckle, and staggered to a couch, 
on which he tumhled, and lay with 
his Qyes open for a long while. At 
last he fell asleep, hut I was too 
nervous to do likewise, and Bat 
watching him the most of the 
night: at least when I awoke it 
was daylight, and it seemed to me 
that I had heen asleep but a few 
minutes. 

Jackson was still lying on the 
couch, and his face was calm and 
peaceful as ho softly breathed. 
The morning too was fine, and as 
I walked on to the verandah I saw 
the sea sparkling in the sunlight, 
and there was not a sound from it 
save a far-off and drowsy murmur. 
Not a sign remained on its broad 
surface of the wrath of the day 
before. It was wonderfully calm. 
Lying here and there on the ver- 
andah, rolled up in their clothes, 
were the servants of the factory, 
sleeping soundly on the hard planks. 

Presently, as the sun rose in the 
heavens and warmed the air, the 
place began to show signs of life, 
and one of the watch that I had 
set on the beach came running 
across the yard to tell me that the 
bodies had come ashore. 

Immediately upon hearing this 
I called the hammock - bearers to- 
gether, and going down to the 
beach, I went a considerable way 
along it towards a dark spot, which 
I knew to be a group of natives. 
On coming up to the group, I found 
at least fifty negroes collected round 
the drowned man and woman, all 
chattering and squabbling amongst 
themselves, and probably over the 
plunder, for I saw that the bodies 
had been stripped to their under- 
clothing. Rushing into the crowd, 
with the aid of a stick I dispersed 
it, so far as to make the wretches 
stand back. The man of course was 
l>ransome, there was no doubt as 



to that, although he had received 
a terrible blow on the left temple, 
most likely from the pointed stem 
of the boat as it had toppled 
over upon him, and his face was 
distorted and twisted to one side. 
The woman was evidently Eng- 
lish, young and pretty, although 
her long hair, heavy and wet, was 
polluted by the sand that stuck to 
it, and her half- open eyes were 
filled with the same. On her lips 
there lingered a slight smile. She 
was of middle height, of slender 
figure, and delicately nurtured, as 
the small bare feet and little hands 
showed. As I looked at the latter 
I saw a wedding-ring on her finger, 
and I thought, " it is Bransome's 
wife." I tried to take the ring 
away, but it would not come off her 
finger — which I might have knowD, 
because the natives would not have 
left it there had they been able to 
remove it. I then ordered the 
bearers to lay the bodies in the 
hammocks; and that done, our 
little party wended its way along 
the shore homewards, while the 
natives I had dispersed follow- 
ed one after another in African 
fashion. 

. Arrived at the factory, I bade the 
boys place the bodies side by side 
on a spare bed in an empty room, 
and then I sent them to dig a 
grave in the little burial-ground 
on the Point., where two or three 
worm-eaten wooden crosses marked 
the resting-places of former agents 
of Messrs Flint Brothers. 

As quick interment was necessary 
in such a climate, even on that very 
day, I went to call Jackson in 
order that he might perform tl 
duty that was his— that of readir 
the burial-service over the deac 
and of sealing up the desk an 
effects of Mr Bransome. But Jacl 
son was not in the factory, 
guessed, however, where he waj 
and sure enough I found him i 



1881.] 



King BembcCs Point : A West African Story. 



103 



his accustomed haunt at the end 
of the Point The moment he saw 
me he tried to hide himself among 
the brushwood, but I was too quick 
for him, and spied him as he 
crouched behind a dwarf palm. 

" I know, I know," he cried, as 
I ran up to him ; " I saw you come 
along the beach. Bury them, bury 
them out of sight" 

" Come, Mr Jackson," I replied, 
**it isn't fair to put all the trouble 
on to me. I am sure I have had 
enough of the weariness and anx- 
iety of this sad business. You 
must take your share of it I 
want you to read the service for 
the dead over them." 

"No, no," he almost shrieked; 
" bury them quick; never mind me. 
Put them out of sight" 

*' I will not," I said, resolutely. 
" For your own sake you must, at 
any rate, view the bodies." 

" They have not been murdered?" 
he replied. But the startled look 
with which I received the sugges- 
tion his words implied, seemed to 
make him recollect himself, for he 
rose and took my arm without say- 
ing more. As he did so, I felt for 
the first time a sort of repugnance 
towards him. Up to that moment 
my feeling had been one of pity 
and anxiety on his account, but 
now I loathed him. This he 
seemed instinctively to feel, and 
he clung closely to me. 

Once at the factory I determined 
that there should be no more delay 
on his part, and I took him to the 
door of the room where the bodies 
had been laid, but at it he made a 
pudden halt and would not enter. 
Covering his face with his handp, 
he trembled violently as I pushed 
the door open and advanced to the 
bedside. The room, hushed and in 
semi - darkness — the white sheet, 
whose surface showed too plainly 
the forms beneath it — and the 
scared, terrified face of the man who. 



with brain a-fire, stood watching, 
with staring eyes, the bed, — made 
a scene I have never forgotten. 

Slowly I turned down the upper 
part of the sheet, and Jackson, as 
if fascinated by the act, advanced a 
step or two into the room, but with 
face averted. Gradually he turned 
it towards the bodies, and for a 
moment his gaze rested upon them. 
The next instant he staggered for- 
ward, looked at the woman's face, 
panted for breath once or twice, and 
then, with uplifted hands and a 
wild cry of " Lucy !" fell his length 
upon the floor. When I stooped 
over him he was in convulsions, 
and dark matter was oozing out of 
his mouth. The climax had come. 
I shouted for the servants, and 
they carried him to his own room, 
and placed him on his own bed. 

How I got through that day 
I hardly know. Alone I buried 
Bransome and his wife, and alone I 
returned from the hurried task to 
watch by Jackson's bedside. None 
of the natives would stay near him. 
For two days he lay unconscious. 
At the end of that time he seemed 
to have some idea of the outside 
world, for his eyes met mine with 
intelligence in their look, and on 
bending over him I heard him 
whisper, " Forgive me 1 " Then he 
relapsed into unconsciousness again. 
Through the long hours his eyes 
remained ever open and restless; he 
could not eat, nor did he sleep, and 
I was afraid he would pass away 
through weakness without a sign, 
being an old man. On the third 
day he became delirious, and com- 
menced chattering and talking to 
himself, and imagining that all 
kinds of horrid shapes and crea- 
tures were around and near him. 
I had to watch him narrowly in 
order to prevent him stealing out 
of his bed, which he was ready to 
do at any moment to avoid the tor- 
tures which he fearfully imagined 



104 



King Bemba's Point : A West African Story. 



[July 



awaited bim. By these signs I 
knew that he was in the middle of 
an attack of delirium tremens, and 
I tried to quiet him by means of 
laudanum, but it had no effect upon 
him. I got him, however, to swal- 
low a little soup, which sustained 
him. My own boy was the only 
negro I had been able to induce to 
stay in the room, and he would 
only remain in it while I was there. 
I had sent a messenger to the 
nearest station, where I remembered 
there was a Portuguese doctor; but 
he had not returned by the even- 
ing of the fourth day. That night, 
worn out with watching, I had 
dozed off to sleep on a chair, placed 
by the sick man's bed, when all at 
once I was awakened by a loud 
report, and I jumped up to find 
the room filled with smoke. As it 
cleared away I saw that Jackson 
was standing in the middle of the 
room with a revolver in his hand. 
As I confronted him he laughed 
a devilish laugh and cocked the 
weapon, crying as he did so, "It 
was you who tempted me with your 
smooth face and unsuspicious way, 
and you shall die, though I suffer 
doubly in hell for it. Hist ! " and 
he stopped suddenly and listened. 
" Don't you hear the breakers ! 
Hark! how they roar. They say 
they are ready, always ready," and 
staring in front of him, he ad- 
vanced, as if following the sign of 
an invisible hand, to the door, un- 
consciously placing, to my infinite 
relief, the revolver on the top of a 
chest of drawers as he passed by it. 
I did not dare to move, and he 
opened the door and walked into 
the front room. Then I followed 
him. For a little he remained in 
the room, glaring vacantly about 
him, and muttering to himself; but 
seeing the outer door open he made 
a rush towards it, and disappeared 
into the darkness of the night. 
Calling to the boy, I ran after him, 



and easily came up to him, when 
he turned, and picking up a heavier 
stone than I thought he could have 
lifted, threw it at me. I dodged 
it and closed with him. Once in 
my arms I found I could hold him, 
and my servant and I carried him 
back into the factory. We placed 
him on the floor of the dining- 
room, and he was too exhausted to 
move for a while. By degrees, 
however, he recovered sufficiently 
to stand ; and as soon as he could 
do so by himself, with devilish can- 
ning, he made for the lamp, which 
he struck, quick as lightning, with 
a stick that had been lying on the 
table. In an instant the great 
round globe fell to pieces, but 
luckily the chimney was not broken, 
and the lamp remained alight, and 
before he could strike another blow 
at it I had grappled with him again. 
This time he struggled violently 
for a few moments, and seemed to 
think that he was dealing with 
Bransome, for he shrieked, "What ! 
have you come back from the sea 1 
You are wet ! you are wet ! " and 
shuddering, he tried to free himself 
from my hold ; and I, not liking to 
hurt him, let him go, taking care to 
keep myself between him and the 
lamp. 

"Back from me, you villain of 
hell ! " he cried, as soon as he was 
free. " What have you done with 
herl what have you done with 
herl" And then, in a tone of 
weird and pathetic sorrow, " Where 
is my little one that I loved 1 I 
have sought her many a year; oh, 
why did she forsake me? Aha, 
Sooka ! we were right to send him 
to the hell whence he came — th* 
lying, false-hearted scoundrel, t 
steal away my white dove ! " 

After which he drew from hi 
finger a solid gold ring which h 
always wore and threw it fron 
him, saying, with a wild laugh 
" There ! that's for any one tha^ 



1881.] 



King Bemba's Point : A Weet African Story, 



105 



likes it; I'm a dead man." He 
then staggered towards his own 
room, and I, remembering the 
loaded revolver which still lay on 
the chest of drawers, tried to inter- 
cept him. In his rage, for I verily 
believe that he also remembered 
that the weapon was there, he spat 
in my face, and struck me with all 
his force between the eyes; bnt I 
stack to him, and with the help 
of the boy, who had been all this 
time in hiding, bat who came for- 
ward at my call, I laid him for the 
last time npon his bed. There he 
lay exhausted for the remainder of 
the night; bat there was no rest 
for me, — I felt that I had to watch 
him now for my own safety. 

Towards morning, however, his 
breathing became, all at once, very 
heavy and slow, and I bent over 
him in alarm. As I did so, I heard 
him sigh faintly, *' Lucy ! " and at 
that moment the native boy softly 
placed something upon the bed. 
I took it ap. It was the ring the 
sick man had thrown away in the 
night, and as I looked at it I saw 
''James, from Lucy" engraved on 
its inside surface, and I knew that 
the dead woman was his wife. 

As the first faint streaks of dawn 

stole into the room, the slow-drawn 

breathing of the dying man ceased. 

I listened — it came again — once — 

twice — and then all was silence. 

He was dead, and I realised in 

the sudden stillness that had come 

upon the room that I was alone. 

Yet he had passed away so quietly 

after his fitful fever that I could 

not bring myself to believe that he 

was really gone, and I stood look- 

ig at the body, fearing to con- 

ince myself of the truth by touch- 

igit. 

So entranced was I by that feel- 
ig of awe which comes to almost 
rery one in the presence of death, 



that I did not hear the shouting of 
the hammock- boy outside, or the 
footsteps of a white man coming 
into the room; and not until he 
touched me on the shoulder did I 
turn and recognise the sallow face of 
the Portuguese doctor whom I had 
sent for, and who had thus arrived 
too late. However, he served to 
help me to bury the mortal part 
of Jackson in the little graveyard 
beside the body of his wife, and 
that of the man who had come 
between them when alive. And 
such was without doubt the fact ; 
for when the doctor had gone, and 
I was alone again, I collected and 
made an inventory of the dead 
men's effects, and in Jackson's 
desk I found his diary, or, as he 
himself would have called it, his 
log; and in that log was noted, 
on the very day that Bransome 
had arrived on the Point, his sus- 
picion of the man, and later on his 
conviction that Bransome was in- 
deed he who had injured him. 

Sooka was never found; but 
when the mail- steamer returned 
from the south coast, I discovered 
that the younger patrao had made 
his crew row away suddenly from 
the steamer's side, while Mr Bran- 
some had been engaged below, and 
was out of sight. So it was evident 
that the pair had been in league 
together to- insure Sooka his re- 
venge. What share Jackson had 
had in the murder of his enemy, 
I did not care to think of, but feared 
the worst. 

For myself, I had to remain on 
the Point for many months, until 
the factory was finally closed — for 
no purchaser was ever found for it ; 
and doubtless, by this time, the 
buildings are in ruins, and long 
grass hides the graves of those 
who sleep upon King Bemba's 
Point. 



106 



Recollectums a la /(mrchette. 



[July 



RECOLLECTIONS 1 LA FOURCHETTE. 



We take it to be undeniable tbat 
our earliest and happiest memories 
associate themselves in some shape 
with eating and drinking. We 
had almost added, the purest and 
the holiest; but on second thoughts 
that might be going too far. For 
we remember that stolen pleasures 
were the sweetest, and the piquancy 
of some of our most delightful remi- 
niscences originated in the spirit of 
lawless adventure. Be it remarked, 
besides, that for the present we use 
the word '' eating " in its simplest 
meaning. The boy eats from in- 
stinct, and to sastain his irrepres- 
sible energy and spirits, although 
far from insensible to those gratifi- 
cations of the palate which transfer 
their agreeable sensations to the me- 
mory. Caring about cookery comes 
later. Next, " cookery " with him 
may be translated into the more 
artificial cuisine; while sooner or 
later, should his tastes lie that way, 
the half-careless connouweur becomes 
the serious gourmand^ or rises into 
the more refined order of the 
gourmets. 

But our present concern is with 
the boy — the father of the future 
man — and so we go back to him 
from our brief digression. With 
the country boy, come home for 
the holidays after his first terms at 
school, and proud of his emancipa- 
tion from those schoolroom dinners 
where his elder sisters, in company of 
the governess, are nourished on the 
wholesome but monotonous roast- 
mutton, and on rice-puddings that 
are remarkable for the absence of 
egg. He feels it to be a decided 
step of promotion when he is per- 
mitted to join the party at the 
family luncheon. It has its mate- 
rial advantages, moreover, in the 
variety of delicacies which are 



brought within the range of his 
formidable powers. Every boy ha«i, 
or ought to have, a splendid appe- 
tite, which may be invariably de- 
pended upon. Even preliminary 
surfeits of fruit, when he has been 
ranging the garden from the goose- 
berry-bushes to the strawberry - 
beds, seem to make slight impres- 
sion on it. He lives in the open 
air in most weathers ; and even 
when the drenching rain is almost 
too much for his philosophy, he is 
loungiug about the open doors of 
the stables, or making dashes at 
the keeper's cottage and the ken- 
nels. The hottest sunshine onlj 
warms him into increased activity, 
like the lizards and scorpions of 
southern climes. Punctuality, in 
well-ordered households, is the 
rule, and especially for the young. 
So, somehow, when the bell has 
tolled for luncheon, omr busy 
young acquaintance finds himself 
in his place, panting with the 
final burst that saved his distance, 
and with his face flushed as with 
incipient fever, and steaming fiom 
hurried immersion in cold water. 
He has lost some of his breath, but 
none of his appetite. It is cut and 
come again with the cold beef. 
The butler, with whom Master 
Jack i3 a prime favourite, notwith- 
standing his predilection for prac- 
tical jokes, helps him repeatedly 
and surreptitiously to sweets ; and 
finally, with cheese and bread, bat- 
ter and salad, he completes a com- 
fortable and satisfactory repai 
The envious valetudinarian wit 
chronic indigestion, who has bee 
trifling with a biscuit and wet- 
brandy and apollinaris, might 8 
Master Jack down as a glutto 
We were going to say, " Not a 1 
of it ; " but we would stick close 



IS81.] 



EecoUections a la foureheiie. 



107 



to the truth. Few natures will bear 
minnte analysis, and emerge from 
the ordeal with nndimmed lustre ; 
and it is possible that Jack may 
have been endowed with a heredi- 
tary liking for good cheer. Look 
at his father, who, in spite of the 
sufferings from gout, which send him 
every year to Carlsbad or Buxton, 
has at this very meal helped him- 
self twice to the cutlets d la Soubise, 
carefolly shunning the protesting 
glance of the anxious partner of his 
troubles. But whatever Jack may 
come to be in later life, at present 
his conscience, were he conscious 
of a conscience, would acquit him 
of any such impeachment. As his 
liarents know well, and the keeper 
of his wardrobe likewise, is he not 
ready to leave the maternal flesh pots 
at any time for a long happy day in 
the woods or the fields, forgetful of 
those needs that make us the slaves 
of OUT bodies, till reminded by the 
pangs of acute hunger? Then, in- 
deed, he bethinks himself of break- 
ing his fast, and small blame to 
him. Possibly he remembers a crust 
he had prudently bestowed in his 
pocket, or he shares the rough fare 
of the keeper or the ferreters, or 
perhaps throws himself on the hos- 
pitality of some friendly cottage; 
and in those cases he makes one of 
those memorable repasts which we 
alluded to as associating themselves 
with our happiest recollections. 

We have been speaking hitherto 
of a supposititious Jack, who may 
be taken as the type of well-condi- 
tioned boyhood. But any reminis- 
cences of the kind must be more or 
less autobiographical; and it is as 
rell to say frankly at the outset, 
bat we mean to spare our imagina- 
ion and draw on our memory. The 
uly difficulty is where to begin. 
1 winter, short of actual violence, 
was hard to draw us out of our 
led. But in summer, and still less 
a the spring, would any one have 



dreamed of improving the parable 
of the sluggard for our benefit] 
Sluggard indeed ! With us it was 
early to bed and early to rise. Let 
the curtains be drawn close over the 
blinds, and we seemed nevertheless 
to awaken instinctively to the song 
of the larks and the cheery rSoeille 
of the cuckoos. What delight it 
was to rush to the open window 
and meet the fresh breath of the 
morning, fragrant with the odours 
drawn out by the night-dews ! The 
window opened upon a rookery, 
and the sunbeams breaking from 
the east, came slanting through the 
stems of the elms, and lighting up 
the yellow daffodils* The rooks in 
a clamorous chorus were cawing over 
the stacks of nests that were gently 
swaying to the breeze in the tree- 
tops. Beyond the rookery rippled 
the burn that divided the lawn from 
the park beyond, where the sheep 
had already scattered themselves 
about in the nooks that were formed 
by the encircling woods. And 
among the grazing sheep in the 
dewy clover were feeding hares ; 
and the rabbits that had crowded 
out of their burrows in the banks, 
and the small family-parties of roe- 
deer that, beiug never disturbed, 
had become tame as the sheep with 
long impunity. Though the sights 
and sounds enchanted us even then, 
with our imperfectly developed 
sense of the beautiful, it was not 
long that they held us spell-bound. 
A minute or two and we had 
tumbled into our clothes, and 
carrying our shoes in our hands, 
were softly stealing down-stairs. 

Well do we remember those 
morning rambles by the brook-side ! 
Never spaniel or terrier quested 
more eagerly through the rank damp 
grass and in the dripping tangles 
of the thickets. We had a com- 
panion or companions of course — 
for the " we " is literal, not literary 
— and we gave tongue merrily like 



108 



RecoUections d la fourchette. 



[July 



puppies broken loose, in the light- 
ness of OUT heads and spirits. Each 
sylvan sight and sound "was a joy, 
and all the more joyous for long 
familiarity with them : that caw- 
ing of the rooks, growing more 
and more mellow as it receded in 
the distance; the bark of the 
watch- dogs, and the crowing of the 
cocks from the farm-steadings ; the 
cooing of the cushats by the score, 
from the cool recesses of the spruce- 
woods ; the cry of the pheasant 
as he flew out of the copse; the 
matin-song of birds innumerable, 
from every brake and *' bosky 
bourne "of those " wild woods." The 
notes of sweet Philomel were miss- 
ing ; for the nightingale never visits 
those northern climes. £ut the 
native songsters made up a tuneful 
choir, that poured forth in har- 
monious rivalry volumes of the 
richest melody. There seemed a 
mavis or a merle on each second 
fir-top. Now the water-hen would 
flutter out from some bed of rushes 
in a back-water, and go skimming 
round the bends of the rippling 
stream. Again there would be one 
plunge and then another, when the 
water-rats were taking headers into 
the pools. The banks were mined 
and broken, and the brook was 
alive with trout ; and off would go 
jackets and shoes and stockings ; 
and with trousers turned back above 
the knee, and shirt-sleeves rolled 
up to the armpits, we would be 
plunging down the water like otter- 
hounds, "guddling" for the trout 
under the tree-roots and beneath 
the stones. It was the height of 
the nesting season too ; and as, 
breaking away from the burn-side, 
we brushed our way through the 
dew -bespangled boughs or tore a 
passage through the thickets of un- 
derwood and bramble, we stumbled 
on from treasure to treasure. There 
was little temptation to carry off 
nestfuls of the blotched and speck- 



led eggs wholesale, even had we 
been more heartless or thoughtless. 
By taking moderate toll, we speedUy 
made superb collections. Or, leav* 
ing the woods for the fields, we 
went ranging for linnets' neets 
among the shrubberies of scented 
furze on the braes, where the larka 
were singing overhead and the lap- 
wings swooping and clamouring ; 
— when hark ! the sound of ^e 
warning beU comes booming over 
field and copse. That bell means 
family prayers, which we miss that 
morning as we have missed them 
many other mornings, in spite of 
solemn warnings and excellent in- 
tentions. But starting for the 
house at a hand -gallop, we arrive 
scant of breath and drenched and 
happy, our soaking boots as white 
as the new-baked rolls to which we 
were soon paying our devoirs. Late 
as we were, though no laggards, no 
one had the ill nature to be more 
than mildly reproachful 

And what a meal that was ! The 
porridge with the frothing cream 
came in as a simple whet for all 
that was to follow. The old din- 
ing-room — it has been since pulled 
down — arises before us as if that 
time were yesterday, with the stags' 
heads over the black carved side- 
board, and the rural landscapes 
with prize groups of sheep and 
cattle ; and the finishes of famous 
steeplechases, and the hunters fly- 
ing fences in their stride. Broad as 
was its expanse of snowy damask, 
the sideboard was amply garnished ; 
and the table was spread with the 
ideal of a Scotch breakfast, though 
it was no ideal but a glorious reality. 
It must have been a lesson and s 
revelation to the benighted South 
em, to see the profusion of platterf 
of home-baked breads of all de 
scriptions, from household loavee 
through rolls and barley ano 
wheaten scones down to light oaten 
cakes and the more substantial ban 



1881.] 



Recollections a la fourcfiette. 



109 



nocks. Nor would be have been 
less astonished at tbe variety of 
preserves in tbe sparkling crystal, 
^m tbe luscious fruits of tbe gar- 
den to tbe products of tbe bives 
and bills. Does tbe reader know 
the cranberry and tbe avern 1 If not, 
we recommend bim to try them; 
not tbe importations from Norwe- 
gian fjelds, but tbe native growth 
of our grouse-moors and deer-forests. 
That by tbe way; nor need we say 
anything of more commonplace 
dishes of fish and flesh, &c., al- 
thongb tbe chops of the small 
black-faced mutton from Spey- 
side must ever bold a place in 
our dearest memories. Set a boy, 
fresh and fasting from severe if 
most exbilarating exercise, down 
to such a spread; and while be 
19 making the most of his oppor- 
tunities, we may leave details to 
the imagination. He may rival 
tbe feats of the starving Quentin 
Durward when tbe French monarch 
entertained tbe youth in tbe hos- 
telry at Plessis ; but he rises with- 
out tbe slightest sense of satiety ; 
and who shall say be was anything 
but temperate t And so we would 
leap out upon the lawn through 
tbe low-cut windows, to bound off 
to the after - breakfast reunion in 
the stable-yard, lighter and fresher 
than when we went to work. 

Fortunate boys we were, to whom 
sucb breakfasts came in the holi- 
days as matters of course. But 
undoubtedly there is more of the 
excitement of pleasure in the un- 
expected. We recall a day when, 
after suffering extremities of hun- 
ger and considerable bodily terror 
to boot, we sat down as guests to 
a sumptuous table literally spread 
in tbe wilderness. We were on 
a visit to a young school-fellow in 
one of the wildest districts of tbe 
storm-beaten north-eastern sea-coast. 
As it chanced, we had been lefb 
to our own devices for a day or 



two, and absolutely masters of our 
movements. So we struck out an 
expedition for bird-nesting extra- 
ordinary. We bad beard of a 
colony of black- beaded gulls that 
bad their breeding-place some half- 
dozen miles to the northward ; but 
as it was said to be jealously guar- 
ded, we determined to keep our 
own counsel. Had we communi- 
cated with tbe servants as to com- 
missariat arrangements, obstacles 
might possibly have been thrown 
in our way. So we started unde- 
monstratively at peep of dawn, 
without beat of drum or having 
broken our fasts. We bad vague 
notions of the topography of tbe 
district, but hoped to steer a toler- 
ably straight course by the sea and 
the sandhills. A wild walk it 
was, through a country without 
sign of human habitation. Great 
swampy stretches of the salt " bent " 
grass, half drifted over with sand, 
broke back into a stony wilderness 
of furze -bushes and stunted firs. 
The fir-trees bad been battered and 
blasted by the northern gales, and 
the furze-bushes had been nibbled 
into fantastic shapes by tbe rabbits. 
Objects of interest about us were 
in abundance, and yet a depression 
settled down on our spirits, from 
the lowering clouds overhead; for 
there was an uncanny lull in tbe 
weather after a gale that bad 
been blowing briskly through the 
night. Possibly empty stomachs 
had something to do with it. 
We cheered up at the sight of a 
certain narrow river, for we bad 
beard our destination lay imme- 
diately beyond it. We bad for- 
gotten, alas ! that the river must be 
crossed, and it was too swift to 
swim and too deep to wade. To cut 
the story short, we trudged up the 
banks for miles and weary miles 
till we came to the but of a vener- 
able ferryman, in a coat of tattered 
rabbit-skins, who punted us across 



( 



110 



lieeoUeetions a lafourehette. 



[July 



in a superannuated salmon-cobble. 
Old Charon plied us with quea- 
tionSy which we answered evasive- 
ly ; and he warned us that " the 
weather was liking to be wet." In 
fact, the sage was prophesying on a 
certainty — ^the big rain-drops were 
falling already, and before we had 
proceeded half an hour on our way 
we had not a dry stitch on our per- 
sons. Prudence warned us to go 
back ; pride urged us to persevere. 
Footsore, out of spirits, and ready 
to drop, we nevertheless forgot wet 
and weariness when we heard the 
first clamour of the sea-gulls. Nor 
did we remember that we had been 
almost sick with hunger when we 
looked down from a little eminence 
on swampy, rush -grown meadow- 
land. The "Harberton hens," as 
they were called in the country al- 
literatively, had covered the ground 
with what seemed a heaving sheet 
of black and white lozenged pat- 
tern. Nor was there a soul in 
sight to interfere with our investi- 
gations. Simultaneously we made 
our rush, and in another moment 
were ** squelching" over the sloppy 
ground. Eggs everywhere, with 
here and there some fluffy balls of 
down. As we plunged forward, 
though the mass of sitters were tame 
enough, brooding mothers began flut- 
tering up to join their mates ; and 
the clamour overhead was aggravated 
tenfold. No doubt the noise gave 
the alarm. For by -and -by, the 
holloa of a human voice came in 
by way of bass through the shrill 
tenor of the sea-gulls, and a plaid- 
swathed figure, magnified by the 
mist, stood dripping in the rain 
like a misshapen water-kelpie. By 
natural instinct we made a bolt 
to find ourselves bogged over the 
knees. Here was a predicament. 
The quagmire that had gripped us 
tenaciously was steadily sucking us 
down, and our best hope was that 
the enemy might come to the rescue 



bdfore we had vanished clean out of 
his sight Happily he seemed not un- 
prepared for casualties of the kind. 
He bore down upon us in boards 
fastened to his feet, bringing with 
him something resembling a ladder, 
which we crawled along like wasps 
released from a honey-pot, after 
using it as leverage for self-extri- 
cation. Our saviour landed na on 
the solid ground we had left, and 
he might have searched far before 
he hit on two more pitiable objects. 
He had no comfort for us. We 
were collared and dragged awaj 
with direful forebodings. We might 
be made away with, and nobody a 
bit the wiser. And so we were 
hauled off to a little &rmbouse, 
sheltering snugly enough near the 
bar of the river, in the middle of 
some reclaimed turnip and com 
land. Once under his own roof- 
tree, the manners of the ogre 
changed as by enchantment; and 
indeed it would have been absurd 
to keep up an affectation of severity 
before the smiling good wife, who was 
standing open-eyed in her doorway. 
How welcome was the fire of peat 
and logs cheerily crackling in the 
wide chimney ! scarcely less welcome 
the ablutions in hot water from 
the huge kettle swinging from the 
crook. What shouts of laughter 
broke from our kind entertainers, 
as the goodman encased our small 
persons in roomy homespun gar- 
ments of his own ! And shall we 
ever forget the feast, when we gave 
the reins to our unbridled appetites f 
Sea-trout, newly caught in the river, 
and lifted smoking ** hot-shot *' from 
the "brander;" kippered salmon 
blushing a rosy pink, after the wii 
ter's exposure to the smoke of th 
chimney; mutton -ham that ha 
been swinging as a pendant on t^ 
other side, and eggs from under t 
hens that were cackling " among oi 
feet " in the " spence." Bushels < 
delicately -browned bannocks, ar 



1881,] 



lUcoHectiona a la fourehette. 



111 



half-pounds of golden butter, with 
a double "browst" of tea of super- 
lative Btrengtb. Gladly would we 
have abjuied fine linen and bear's- 
grease, and run wild for at least 
a week, like little savages, in the 
solitudes that suirounded that hos- 
pitable kitchen. And our hosts 
appeared to be so gratified by our 
performances at breakfast, that we 
believe they would have made us 
more than welcome. We are sure 
at least that there was sincere sor- 
row on one side, when that rattle- 
trap of a *' conveyance " came creak- 
ing round to the door, in which the 
farmer had insisted upon '^setting 
US ower the river." 

That improvised banquet suggests 
picnics. There are picnics and pic- 
nics ; and we have gone to many a 
one in our time, between the banks 
of the Thames and the shores of the 
Boephorus. £ut commend us still 
to the picnics of boyhood, before 
we had come to care for our toilet 
with designs on the peace of con- 
fiding young females, or taken to 
trifling with the edge-tools that 
were to cut our own fingers; be- 
fore we were victimised for contri- 
butions of sweet champagne by 
ladies like the '* old campaigners " of 
Dickens and Thackeray ; before we 
were doomed to dance attendance 
on dowagers, while younger men 
did the agreeable to their pretty 
daughters ; before lobster-salads and 
galantines meant indigestion for the 
morrow. Many a merry alfresco 
repast we remember, when a jovial 
home-party went to luncheon in the 
woods, smoking the steaks and mut- 
ton-chops over fires of their own 
ndling. Summer after summer, 
cnics became a mania with us; 
d our seniors were hurried away 
oar juvenile impetuosity, till they 
came nearly as much excited on 
e subject as ourselves when we 
oured the country in search of the 
cturesque. A roomy brake car- 



ried the elderly ladies and gentle- 
men, with the provision -hampers. 
The other members of the party 
formed a flying squadron of irregu- 
lar cavalry, mounted on steeds and 
screws of all shapes and sizes, from 
the superannuated carriage - horse 
that renewed his youth, down to 
the rough -maned Shetland pony 
that came clattering in the rear. 
Queer, shaggy-coated beasts, "taken 
up from the grass " on neighbouring 
farms, were pressed into the ser- 
vice. They were picketed under 
the trees, if there were no farm- 
buildings ** convanient," as Paddy 
says ; or hobbled and turned loose 
to graze by the roadside. 

One old castle was a very favour- 
ite resort, chiefly, we believe, be- 
cause there was an agreeable sense 
of the appalling about it. It was 
all very well in a bright summer 
day ; but nothing would have 
tempted us to go there alone in 
the darkness. There were dun- 
geons out of all decent proportion 
to the old bedroom accommoda- 
tion ; and a vaulted hall tapestried 
with the mosses and clinging plants 
that had struck root in the inter- 
stices of the crumbling masonry. 
Enclosed by a broken wall, — almost 
stifled in the embrace of the elms 
that threw their boughs over a 
wilderness of nettles, there was a 
dim, religious light in the precincts 
even at noonday, and it seemed a 
fit " place of habitation for dragons 
and owls." The merry voices were 
hushed for a moment, as the rotting 
gates revolved on their rusty hinges 
and we passed under the defaced 
escutcheon over the doorway. Only 
for a moment. And then in the 
reaction we were more vociferous 
than ever, waking echoes that for 
months might have been slumber- 
ing in silence; and rushing away 
headlong to risk our necks on the 
ruined stonework, where we went 
clambering among the resting-places 



112 



Recollections a la fourchette. 



[July 



of the jackdaws and starlings. A 
contrast in most respects was an- 
other venerable fortalice, famous in 
local song and story, which had been 
brightened np into a modern shoot- 
ing-lodge. Nothing could be more 
cheerfid than the sunny situation, 
commanding the windings of a cele- 
brated trout-stream, where it mean- 
dered among haughs and holms to 
the sea that skirted the horizon. 
The quaint dining - chamber, to 
which we had access "by kind 
permission of the proprietor," was 
lighted from an octagon of lancet- 
shaped windows, each offering some 
picturesque variation of the view ; 
while on the panels between were 
landscapes with sporting scenes by 
a clever north- country disciple of 
Landseer. One of them, in par- 
ticular, all full of life and action, 
in which the stalwart old laird was 
landing a silvery sea-trout on a bit 
of gravelly beach among the rocks 
beneath, was enough to send any 
boy to rummage among the rods 
and flies in the keeper's private 
den, if a westerly wind and a 
cloudy sky proclaimed a fishing 
forenoon. And never, even on the 
shores of Loch Awe or Loch Leven, 
can we have eaten trout in such 
perfection, as those fresh run from 
the salt estuary of the Logic, which 
made but a leap, as it were, from 
the " Castle Pools " straight into 
the frying-pan. 

Shooting lunches are among the 
pleasantest forms of picnics. It is 
true that we should dispense there 
with the presence of ladies, but 
there is no perfection in the plea- 
sures of this world. When we 
were young, inexperienced, and 
madly enthusiastic, the autumn 
lunches on the moors, so far as the 
hours at which we partook of these 
went, were rather like French dejtu- 
neiirs d la fourchette. The ground 
on which we killed our first grouse 
was a bit of Lowland peat-moss, but 



a few miles from " the House.*' As 
it was hardly worth while keeping 
a watcher on it, we used to be up 
betimes, in mortal fear of being 
anticipated. The good old horse 
was hitched into the dogcart^ and 
away we went, before the thruahea 
in the shrubberies were well awak- 
ened; game-bags, luncheon-basket, 
and pointers inside, with thestoidy 
keeper overbalancing us behind, so 
that if the belly-band had snapped, 
a catastrophe was certain. Qame- 
bags — heaven save the mark ! The 
keeper's pockets would have held 
all our game, with something to 
spare. There was seldom more 
than a single covey in that moss, 
with the chance of some stray shots 
at birds scattered by our neighbours ; 
and the possibility of pidang up a 
snipe or a brace of wild duck. Bat 
there was rich heather with coarse 
grass in abundance among the 
" moss-pots," and that single covey 
took a deal of finding. How con- 
scientiously we trudged out the 
beats, as the August sun rose high- 
er and hotter I How our fla^ng 
spirits were cheered by coming on 
some sign of the brood we were 
searching for ! How we hated the 
worthy cottage-folk who were busy 
cutting their peats ! and yet we 
soothed our bitter feelings hypocrit- 
ically, as we questioned them as to 
anything they might have heard or 
seen. What an agitating moment 
it was, when that drawing of the dogs 
which had so often proved delusive, 
changed slowly into a steady point ! 
and how flurried we were, when, 
after firing at random, we watched 
the birds skimming away scatheless ! 
Scatheless at leasts so far as 
were concerned ; for we ne 
dreamed of disputing the keept 
claim to the brace he had kaocl 
down over our shoulders for . 
dinner - table. But though th< 
mornings were sometimes nei 
bloodless, they were not altoget 



1881.] 



RecoUediwis d, la fourcheite* 



113 



without adventure. Once we were 
taxed with shooting without licen- 
ces by a gentleman in fur cap and 
yelveteens, whom our attendant had 
challenged for trespass; and with 
whom we were glad ignominiously 
to cry quits when he had solemnly 
pencilled our names on a scrap of 
wadding paper. Another day, in re- 
trieying a fallen bird that had lighted 
on a patch of emerald turf, we found 
ourselves over head and ears in a 
"pot," with slippery sides which 
precluded the possibility of scram- 
bling outof it. JSTor were we dragged 
forth by the nape of the neck be- 
fore we had swallowed several pints 
of moss-water, and swathed our- 
selves in the green duckweed as in 
an overcoat. In those days, as we 
need hardly say, we were never the 
worse for a ducking, whatever might 
be the fate of the powder and per- 
cussion-caps ; and in a few minutes, 
all the fresher for the batb, were 
friskiDg about in the sunshine like 
a water-spanieL Though we well 
remember that on that particular 
morning, the breakfast - luncheon 
was even more welcome than usual, 
as it was spread out on the shady 
side of a peat-stack. 

Tears had flown by, and as Byron 
sings in "The Dream," "the boy 
had sprung to manhood." As we 
flattered ourselves, we could shoot 
more than tolerably ; and a cousin, 
the companion of our boyish sports, 
had become the tenant of a crack 
moor. There was no lodge on the 
ground, so he had his qoarters in a 
neighbouring inn. A more hospi- 
table fellow than our cousin never 
existed, and in all the country-side 
he could hardly have chanced upon 
a man better fitted to second him 
in his ideas than our landlord. We 
Uved up to the waists in clover; 
md nothing but indefatigable exer- 
nse in Highland air could have 
helped us in our highly laudable 
jfftHts to spare our host's feelings, 

VOL. CXXX. — NO. DCCLXXXIX. 



and do justice to his fare; though, 
indeed, so far as memory serves us, 
there was little sense of effort. Yet 
he would insist on sending up sir- 
loins and haunch where a single 
joint was ordered; his chickens 
changed to fowls, and his ducks to 
geese, and all the poultry was boiled 
or roasted in batches. Hodge-podge, 
with many pounds of mutton- cut- 
lets swimming in the tureen, 
steamed opposite the savoury con- 
tents of a caldron that had swal- 
lowed a half-dozen of mountain- 
hares ; grilses were cooked in their 
uncurt ailed proportions ; prodigious 
pigeon-pies figured as unconsidered 
kickshaws ; and as for the rough- 
booted muirfowl, they were roasted 
by triplets and quartettes. The 
table literally groaned under the 
load that was laid upon it, but the 
gillies and hangers-on of tiie house 
accounted satisfactorily for all the 
fragments of the feasts. We might 
well have been reminded of the 
festivities in the **Tent," which 
Christopher North and his compan- 
ions of the " Noctes " set up by the 
Linn of Dee, not many miles away 
as the crow flew. And as the 
Ettrick Shepherd once observed, 
half-apologetically, we were youths 
of good, nay, of great, appetites — 
but no gluttons. We settled into 
untroubled sleep ere our heads 
had well touched their pillows, and 
woke with the lightness of pleasant 
twenty-one, when Donald Mac- 
pherson's bony knuckles were heard 
rattling on the door- panels. 

Going about your grouse-shoot- 
ing at six A.M., or fo, may not be 
the deadliest of systems if you are 
set upon heavy bags ; but we are 
sure that early rising and walking 
are healthful, when you are in the 
full flush of your bodily powers. 
Never is the air so limpid, never 
are the skies so bright, as when the 
mists of the morning are lifting 
from the moors, and swathing them- 

H 



114 



BeedUeetions d la fowrehette. 



[July 



selves turban - fashion round the 
nightcaps on the hill-tops. Kever 
does the crow of the grouse- cock 
or the piping of the tiny moor-bird 
sound more cheery. The scent 
might perhaps be better; but we 
have not gone out shooting solely 
for slaughter. Yet somehow, should 
we be in luck, the bag fills rapidly, 
for the sunbeams are bright beyond 
all proportion to their power, and 
the dogs, as they range wide and 
strong, scarcely care to cool them- 
selves in the numberless rills. For 
it is a land of waters : tiny rivulets 
flowing over the clifiEs, and trickling 
down into the bigger rills; rills 
running into bums that meet and 
swell into streams, which are hurry- 
ing down many a glen to the great 
river in the valley. A land of 
waters, as you would say, had you 
seen it after some sudden downpour, 
when the brooks we passed almost 
dryshod a few hours before, had 
been changed into so many brawl- 
ing torrents. But now we are pic- 
turing a perfect morning : so far as 
any flooding of the burns is con- 
cerned, we may shape our beats as 
seems best to us ; now labouring to 
mid-thigh in the blooming heather- 
beds in the bottoms ; now slipping 
and stumbling on the steep hill- 
sides, and anon plunging into the 
cool recesses of some corrie, setting 
a flock of wild-eyed sheep a- scam- 
pering. As each height is crowned, 
we come on a glorious prospect, 
with distant glimpses of Lowland 
landscapes down the purple vistas. 
Except for an occasional shepherd, 
there is seldom a human being vis- 
ible in the foregrounds ; for the 
little village has been left out of 
sight, nor do the avocations of the 
villagers lie in our direction. But 
as the sun is approaching the zenith, 
we begin to look villagewards with 
considerable interest ; and soon a 
picturesque but familiar pair is seen 
emerging from an intervening hol- 



low. These are a pony with a 
capacious pair of panniers, and a 
boy who is piloting him through 
the heather. An intervd of thirty 
minutes may be supposed to elapse 
while we make a cast after that 
broken covey and pick up a brace 
or two. Tt is time for luncheoD, 
and something more, and weU has 
luncheon been earned. 

Was there ever more romantic 
spot than the Well of Cozeen, that 
diamond in the wilderness, though 
not in the desert % We are almost 
as parched as the valiant Sir Ken- 
neth of Scotland could have been, 
when he seated himself with the 
Saracen Emir by the fountain of 
Engaddi. Was ever draught more 
refreshing than that quaigh of cold 
water, slightly laced, and prettily 
tinted with the straw-coloured moun- 
tain-dew 1 No wonder; for the 
water bubbles up through a rift in the 
rock, and is screened besides from 
the sunshine by the hanging rowan- 
tree, which spreads its shade over 
the velvety margin of turf. We 
have a refrigerator of Nature's own 
patenting, in which the bottles of 
bitter ale and sherry are quickly 
recovering themselves from their 
exposure during the transit from 
the cellar of the inn. And we have 
the smoothest and most fragrant of 
possible luncheon - tables, around 
which we recline in unstudied at- 
titudes, after the luxurious manner 
of the ancients. Sandwiches we 
hate, chiefly from associating them 
with railway refreshment -rooms. 
Nevertheless, the component parts 
of sandwiches may be excellent ; 
and nothing can be more delicatA 
than that beautifully marked bee 
of which each slice, with its ma 
rowy veins, is a picture ; while tl 
crisp salad and the yellow butti 
are in every way worthy of it ; nc 
is the "loaf- bread" from the vi 
lage baker's contemptible. " Lo& 
bread " it is called locally in co] 



1881.] 



RecoUeetions i la fourcltette. 



115 



tradistinction to the oat-cakes, to 
which, with the Stilton, we shall 
come presently. Meanwhile the 
hreasts and hitter hacks of those 
cold grouse must he disposed of, as 
well as that very creditahle imitation 
of a salmon mayonnaisey and those 
tarts of the hlended raspherry and 
currant, which we candidly own to 
have heen oat of all role. But then 
our magnificent host would insist 
upon arranging the menus for the 
mountains; and he had little fellow- 
feeling with human frailties. Be- 
sides, he would always clench each 
dispute hy suggesting the alterna- 
tives of ahstiuence or whisky. If 
we liked, we might leave the con- 
tents of his hasket alone: and if 
not, we might make sure of settling 
them with his Glenlivet. 

We are inclined to think our 
host was right. At least we were 
in the hahit of sipping his Glenlivet 
discreetly, and we never knew his 
prescription to fail. Give us the 
shortest of untrouhled snoozes hy 
the side of the empty luncheon- 
haskets, and we shot Setter through 
the afternoon than when condemned 
to shorter commons. We have 
tried both plans and ought to 
know. For we had another friend, 
no less hospitahle than the cousin 
we have anonymously immortal- 
ised, hut who went on directly 
opposite principles. He stowed 
away a very sufficient hreakfast, 
and then lay hack for the late 
dinner, merely bridging the yawn- 
ing abyss with some such trifle as 
a water -biscuit. He had higher 
hills and deeper valleys on his 
moors, with rougher walking and 
far broader beats. We might tramp 
a long half-dozen miles or more 
before we took the guns from the 
gillies ; and knock off after a severe 
day's work, at least as far from the 
dinner-table. We like to do at 
Borne as do the Eomans, and we 
scorned to feast when our friend 



was fasting. Though sometimes it 
was hard to dissemble our melan- 
choly as we thought of the splen- 
did opportunities we had missed, 
while tantalising a vulture-like ap- 
petite on precipices brushed by the 
wings of the eagles. And what 
vras the result? Far from demon- 
strating the merits of our friend's 
theory by the firmness of our step 
and the deadliness of our aim, the 
flesh used to fail altogether towards 
sunset; the muzzles of the gun- 
barrels seemed weighted with lead, 
and the shot went cutting the 
heather -tops without touching a 
feather of the game. It is true 
that, thanks to our strong vitality, 
we rallied after a bath and a change 
of dress ; but though the cook had 
little cause to complain of us, we 
gained nothing, or less than noth- 
iiigi hy our voluntary self-denial. 

But the Highlands are one thing, 
the Lowlands another. We hold 
that no man who prides himself on 
the cardinal virtues of temperance 
and self-denial, can indulge in reck- 
less disregard of consequences when 
shooting the stubbles in September. 
We care nothing about insults to 
breakfast, but we demur to the in- 
juries done to dinner. When we 
see the elaborate collation laid out 
under the greenwood-tree ; when 
we listen to the gurgle of strong 
ale from narrow- necked stone jars, 
or the more luxurious popping of 
lively champagne-corks, we always 
think of Pickwick, cold punch, and 
the pound where the indiscretions 
of the immortal sage were so swiftly 
visited by punishment. Light beer 
or lighter claret should he strong 
enough refreshment for any reason- 
able man ; and if he keep the 
muzzle on over the solids, he is 
sure to be rewarded. As the year 
ages and the temperature cools, 
our conscience grows more elastic. 
Indeed in bleak autumn, and still 
more in bitter winter, we may own 



116 



ReeoUeetiont A la fourchette. 



[July 



to the reader in strict confidence, 
that unless the corners of the woods 
be invariably warm, we find the 
lancheon-hour the pleasantest pass- 
age in the day. The wind has been 
blowing through the closely but- 
toned Norfolk jacket, warmly pad- 
ded with waistcoats and woollen 
underclothing ; or you have been 
kicking your heels in the half- 
frozen slush in the rides, vainly 
trying to keep the blood in circula- 
tion, when your taskmasters tell 
you that you may draw cartridges 
for the time, and the shivering 
guns go off at the double for some 
cottage or shingle hut, where the 
luncheon has been served under 
cover. The mulligatawny is dis- 
tinctly medicinal ; and, like Martin 
Chuzzlewit with his first cobbler 
at New York, you begin to feel 
yourself another man after the 
second glass of sherry. You own 
that those flannel-padded cases of 
block-tin in which the soups and 
stews will keep their warmth al- 
most indefinitely, are among the 
most useful inventions of modern 
science. Never have you shown off 
your jovial powers to much greater 
advantage than in the conversation 
that accompanies the digestive pipe 
or cigar ; and moreover, your shoot- 
ing is cent per cent steadier than 
in the forenoon, as the rocketing 
pheasants discover to their cost. 

But to go back to the picnic pro- 
per after our long parenthetical dis- 
cussion on shooting-lunches. Picnics 
in Scotland may be delightful, as 
we have seen ; but unquestionably 
the climate becomes more congenial 
to them to the southward, where 
the swelling air soothes us into a 
voluptuous listlessness which, never- 
theless, is far from degenerating into 
torpor. On the contrary, the facul- 
ties should flash responsive to the 
sunshine, like the bright sparkle of 
still champagne; while the young 



man's fancy, voluptuously stimu- 
lated, turns as lightly to thoughts 
of love as to mayonnaises and sav- 
oury jellies. The English rivers to 
the south of Tyne have seldom the 
wild beauty of the Scotch streams ; 
yet they may have charms more 
winning if less impressive, and they 
associate themselves naturally with 
the romance of boating-parties. A 
boating picnic on the upper waters 
of Spey or Tay would almost infal- 
libly land one, through shipwrecks, 
in the churchyards. On the slug- 
gish English rivers you are safe 
enough from upsets— or were so, 
at least, before these days of the 
steam - launches, — and the boats 
may be propelled with the mini- 
mum of action — "Youth on the 
prow, and Pleasure at the helm " — 
to the accompaniment of soft music 
in the plash of the oars. If the 
rivers are sluggish, they are none 
the less bewitching in the stillness 
of the summer day. Should you 
hush your voices and lie upon your 
oars, you listen to the hum of the 
bees and the chirping chorus of 
grasshoppers and field - crickets. 
Each twig and leaf of the oak- 
boughs, bending under the foliage, 
is mirrored in the unruffled surface ; 
the lolling rise of some over-gorged 
fish sends the circling ripples half 
across the stream ; the blue-bodied 
dragon-flies, with wings grey-veined 
like the sails of a windmill, are 
flitting among the butterflies over 
the beds of water-lilies; the cattle 
are ruminating quietly in the lush 
meadow-grass, or switching their 
tails as they stand in the silent 
pools; you hear the roucoulemen* 
of ringdoves and wood-pigeons fron 
the woods, and watch the antics o 
the lively squirrels playing hide-and 
seek behind the stems of the beechec 
No wonder that artists, amateur an- 
professional, love to camp out o 
these river-banks, filling their sketch 



1881.] 



RecoUectiona a la fourchetie. 



117 



books when the humour takes 
them, or treasuring up impres- 
8ions for future use. One of them, 
by the way — Mr Leslie — has just 
turned his memories of the Thames 
to exceUent purpose in his delight- 
ful volume * Our Kiver/ And un- 
questionably, in point of picnics 
and boating-partiep, the Thames is 
par excellence the king of English 
rivers. We have rowed down the 
winding course of the Wye, through 
the holms and under the hanging 
covers of Herefordshire and Mon- 
mouth — counties where, in the damp 
warmth of the atmosphere, vegeta- 
tion flourishes in greater luxuriance 
than in any others in England ; we 
haye boated on the Avon of Shake- 
speare and Warwick Castle ; on the 
Colne of Hertfordshire — unknown 
to tourists, though classic to an- 
glers ; on a score of other streams, 
famous or nameless. But, putting 
width and volume of water out of 
consideration, no other of the river 
deities can hold a candle to Father 
Thames — not even excepting the 
water-nymph " Sabrina Fair," who 
has her shrine in the pools of 
" sandy-bottomed Severn." It may 
be partly the brilliancy, of the com- 
pany that gilds our recollections, — 
for, as our readers may remember, 
the choicest scenery of the Thames 
lies within easy reach of the society 
of the metropolis. Not altogether, 
however, and we have had some 
experience, for many a week have 
we spent in successive summers be- 
tween the bridges of Henley and 
Hammersmith. 

Perhaps as pleasant a time as we 
ever parsed was in one of those 
rainless and cloudless summers that 
are now, unhappily, become so ex- 
ceptional, when, with a quartette 
of friends from Aldershot camp and 
Cambridge University, we had our 
headquarters at a well-known ang- 
ling and boating hostelry, situated 



between Shepperton and Walton- 
on-Thames. There our party prac- 
tised a free though discriminat- 
ing hospitality, and rarely in- 
deed were our invitations refused. 
The military and academical ele- 
ments mingled pleasantly, as in the 
masterpieces of the accomplished 
punch-brewer or salad- maker. The 
brilliant "talk" seldom stagnated 
into flat " conversation ; " and the 
al fresco symposia were enlivened 
by songs and sentiments, to the 
foniier of which the very bargee 
would incline his ear, as he hushed 
his oaths while he brought his 
horses to a standstill. We are 
satisfied that transpiration must be 
admirable from the medical point 
of view, for we never spared our- 
selves when toiling against the 
stream, and used to step ashore in 
our flannels dripping like river- 
gods. What were the consequen- 
ces ? We would give carte blanche 
to the caterers at the " Swan," 
the ** Pack-horse," or the " Bell," 
for we gave a wide berth to more 
fashionable establishments. We 
sat down to smoking chops of 
primitive size; to shoulders of lamb 
and bowlfuls of salad ; to Cheshires, 
where we might cut and come again ; 
to knobby loaves, new- drawn from 
the oven, with brimming tankards 
to the verge of indiscretion. But 
neither were our mental faculties 
dimmed, nor was our readiness for 
the evening dinner abated. Those 
Homeric banquets generated Ho- 
meric brilliancy. Cambridge edi- 
tors of critical editions of the Bard 
found themselves for the time, to 
their delight, rhapsodising with 
the fire and the eloquence of their 
original, till their less cultivated 
convives caught the divine conta- 
gion. Could we have secured the 
presence of an invisible shorthand 
reporter, we believe the flow of 
wit, pathos, and reason, at those 



118 



SeeoUeetkms d la fourehetie. 



[Julj 



summer symposia on Thames, 
might have proved a not discredit- 
able sequel to the Noctes Ambrosi- 
ansB of the North. Many drip- 
ping summers and fierce winters 
have passed since then, and the 
idleness of earlier years has given 
place to engrossing occupations. 
Yet from time to time we have 
renewed our pleasures there ; more 
often than not, in the company of 
the fair sex, and in more promis- 
cuous companies. We challenge 
England, as we might defy the 
world, to show a much more en- 
chanting spot for a picnic than on 
the tiny lawn before a metamor- 
posed farmhouse that stands under 
the feathering woods of Hedsor, 
looking down the woodland reach 
of river-bank, beneath the heights 
of Clievden and Taplow ; though 
Magna-Charta Island may run it 
hard, where we were once present 
at a meeting which must live in the 
memory of many a good contri- 
butor to * Maga.' Alas that the 
Editor, in whose honour the en- 
tertainment was given, should be 
lost to the friends his society used 
to gladden ! Well do we remem- 
ber the happy and touching little 
speech which expressed his feel- 
ings towards the lady to whom 
we were indebted for that cheery 
day, — a lady who was one of his 
most valued, personal, and literary 
intimates, and who, as she took 
occasion parenthetically to remind 
him, was his oldest contributor 
then present. A standing puzzle 
to him, as he said, after having so 
often lived under the same roof 
with her, was how she managed 
to overtake all the work which 
speaks for itself, and yet appear 
the least occupied or preoccupied 
of mortals. Nor can we see any 
possible reason, as we are writing 
veracious recollections, why we 
should not name the lady, and 



say frankly that she was Mrs 
OUphant. 

Why our Englbh Mississippi, the 
father of English waters, should 
suggest the Pyrenees to us, we can- 
not pretend to say, unless it be on 
the Iticus a non lucendo principle. 
For the lack of water is the grand 
defect in scenery that has almost 
every other attraction. And Pan, 
the beloved of English and Ameri- 
cans, is a famous centre for picnics, 
and many is the happy afc»moon 
we have spent on the Landes and 
among the coteaux. Water is scarce, 
no doubt, but it is all the more 
valued when we come upon it ; and 
the gaveSy or mountain torrents, 
that flow from sources in the snow, 
are singularly beautiful and emi- 
nently characteristic. They show 
nothing of that dismal infusion of 
glacier moraine that turns the mail- 
ing Swiss rivers to the colour of 
diluted soap-suds, before these are 
purified in their course through 
some lake. The gaves are filled 
by the springs that have their rise 
in stony subsoil, and are filtered 
over beds of sand and gravel, till 
they run in the limpid green that 
has the tints of liquid emerald. 
When they have cleared the gorges 
in the mountains, and left the cover 
of the gloomy pine - forests, they 
ripple and smile through a succes- 
sion of meadows, brawling or mur- 
muring as they are caught among 
the rocks that have rolled down 
into the valleys from the flanks of 
the coteavx. A village over a gav*^ 
is sure to be picturesque, with the 
ruins of the medieval casUe or 
the shattered feudal tower; and 
the rocks scattered at random ove 
the broken ground, as if the giant 
and the gods had been having i 
great stone " bicker," Then ther 
are ivied bridges overhung by con 
vents, and shrines that were th« 
objects of pious pilgrimages before 



1881.] 



BecoUedions a la foureheite. 



119 



the late epidemic of apparitions 
aud revelations; and crosses on 
solitary heights commanding nn- 
rivalled prospects; and chdteavx 
seldom occupied by their owners, 
standing on the crests of the lower 
hills in neglected gardens overrun 
by roees and enlivened by night- 
ingales. 

In short, when people like the 
Gilpins were bent on pleasure, there 
was no want of objects for excur- 
sions, and the only difficulty was 
choosing. Nor have we ever joined 
in expeditions of the kind where 
there was more of fun and less of 
ceremony. Eidiug was in general 
favour, and the little Pyrenean 
hordes are marvellous animals. They 
are said to be sprung of a Moorish 
strain, and assuredly they have the 
endurance and the fire of the moun- 
tain-bred and desert-bom. They 
lie on stone, and live on furze or 
chopped straw. After being over- 
taskcKi in Pau through the winter 
and spring, they go to Biarritz for 
'* relaxation ^ in the bathiog season ; 
and yet there is always a canter to 
be got ou t of them. We are ashamed 
to remember how the goodwill of 
those cheerful little cripples used 
to be abused by reckless parties of 
riders who had left their chaperons 
to follow in the carriages. As good 
of their kind, and in far better con- 
dition, were the ponies, which came 
out in pairs in the pony-carriages 
seated for two, with a "monkey- 
box" behind. Capital things the 
pony-carriages were considered ; for 
at Pau, in those comparatively 
primitive days, the muf^n system 
of Canada was encouraged to a 
limited extent, — at least, the young 
man was allowed to invite a maiden 
as his companion for the day, and 
we need hardly say that the cramped 
monkey -box was no place for a 
mother, or spinster aunt. So the 
youthful couple had it all their 



own way, and could enjoy them- 
selves under no embarrassing super- 
vision. 

As for the materials of those 
rural or sylvan meals, they were 
much the same as are to be met 
with at picnics all the world over. 
More characteristic were the rough- 
aud-ready repasts in the inns in the 
remoter villages or in the mountain- 
passes, when we had driven farther 
afield on longer carriage expedi- 
tions. We found ourselves, of 
course, in pleasant' company ; we 
had either hshed for an invitation 
or been fished for, according to 
ideas of our eligibility; and were 
travelling for the time in the easy 
relations of an adopted member of 
some united families. As we sat 
on the back seat under the eyes of 
our respectable parents for the time 
being, there were no opportunities 
for those little innocent endearments 
which seemed to* grease the wheels 
of the slowest of the pony-carriages. 
But then, as we had foreseen, in so 
mountainous a country, horses must 
be continually crawling at a snail's 
pace ; and in common consideration 
to them the young people must get 
out to walk. And there were en- 
chanting scrambles by the wayside, 
where we were gathering flowers or 
chasing butterflies ; or reaching the 
ever-ready hand in the difficult cir- 
cumstances when a slip might sprain 
an ankle or stain a dress. Those 
sympathies and emotions gave a 
wonderful edge to the appetite, 
when we had started on a light 
and early breakfast. So that, quick- 
ly and pleasantly as the morning 
had gone by, not unwelcome was 
the sight of the village chimneys 
standing out against the schistose 
precipices behind, that dropped 
from box-covered hills into the bed 
of a shrunken torrent. The smoke 
from the kitchen never meant much 
in the meantime, as we knew from 



120 



EecoUedions A la fourchette. 



[July 



experience. Yet experience had 
taught us to put some faith in the 
assurances of the host when he 
ruhbed his hands and was voluble 
of promises. We knew pretty 
nearly what the menu must be, and 
that it would comprise the good, 
the bad, and the indifferent. Im- 
jTrimis, there was the watery soup, 
with bits of bread bobbing about in 
it, more or less mixed up with lamp- 
oil, according to the number of 
kilometres from the Spanish fron- 
tiers. Next came the delicious 
trout, caught with a hand-net in 
the re«>ervoir in a neighbouring 
pool, blue of skin and white of 
flesh, as if they were still shivering 
in their crisp curdiness after life- 
long immersion in ice-cold water; 
yet rich and delicate as the rosiest 
of Scotch sea-trout. Next, in shape 
of enireey the inwards of some ani- 
mal, "accommodated" in a white 
sauce that might have been excel- 
lent had it not savoured somewhat 
strongly of garlic. But in that 
dish as to the garlic, the cook had 
held his hand, which was probably 
much more than could be said for 
the haunch of mutton that followed. 
That usually more than " kept the 
landlord's promise to the eye, to 
break it to the taste." We are far 
from objecting to something stronger 
than the subdued sonjp^on of garlic, 
which we believe to be introduced 
in course of roasting in the best 
English kitchens. But the full 
flavour of the herb is still an abom- 
ination to us, though we might 
have been taught by this time in 
the school of semi-starvation to like 
it. So more often than not the 
haunch was countermanded when 
it had heralded itself by odours 
wafted upwards from the kitchen ; 
or it was sent away uncut when its 
fragrance had filled the apartment. 
Prejudice apart, the young ladies 
for obvious reasons dare not ven- 



ture upon it ; and even the British 
paterfamilias^ who prided himself 
on the robustness of his appetite, 
held such villanous foreign weeds 
in abhorrence. Well, we could 
always fall back on the inevitable 
omelet, which was sure to be ex- 
cellent; and there was delicious 
mountain-honey besides, and deli- 
cate bread ; and there were goats'- 
milk cheese, and golden butter, and 
brimming jugs of the richest milk, 
which was not only pleasant but 
wholesome when freely corrected 
with cognac. For it must be owned 
that the wine was generally infam- 
ous ; and it was just as well that 
we were otherwise disposed to 
hilarity, since it could gladden the 
hearts of neither man nor woman. 
If we had brought our own basket 
of claret and champagne so much 
the better for us. In any case the 
dessert jf as delectable. For that we 
adjourned to the garden or a balcony, 
and had it in the shape of enjoy- 
ment of the soft yet most exhilar- 
ating air, and the glorious panorama 
of snow-capped mountains. 

Somewhat more formal affairs 
were the picnics from the Eternal 
City; and so far as actual eating 
and drinking go, the associations 
with Eome are none of the moat 
agreeable. The winter climate is 
depressing — we had almost said 
detestable — whatever the hotel- 
keepers and physicians may main- 
tain to the contrary ; which makes 
the first fresh breaking of the spring 
in the Campagna like a breatk of 
Paradise to the prisoner escaped 
from a dungeon. You are nnusu- 
ally dependent on regular exercise, 
and exercise you are extraordinari 
loath to take, since the air mak 
you languid, while the "pa'v 
ments " try your feet*. The malai 
ous influences of crumbling ruin 
decaying civilisations, and decrep: 
institutions — we are talking of tt 



1881.] 



Recollections a la fuurchette. 



121 



days vfhen the Pontiffs were su- 
preme — seemed to have told upon 
the meat and tainted the veget- 
ables. Beef ! We always fancied 
that the original wearer of those 
coarse JUets and steaks had passed 
the best of his days under the 
goad in an ox- waggon. Mutton ! 
Only look at the stupid Eoman- 
nosed sheep that cropped the rank 
vegetation among the swamps and 
the ruins of the Gampagna, and say 
if you could expect anything sa- 
voury of them in the way of cut- 
lets ! The black flesh of the wild 
boar, bred in the jungly lagoons or 
in the Pontine Marshes, was power- 
ful enough in all conscience, with- 
out the picquant berberry sauce. 
The porcupines and hedgehogs, 
and other local delicacies that we 
used to eat in the hostelries, 
were well enough once in a way. 
But man cannot live by porcupines 
alone, nor did we ever meet them 
at picnics. Then the vegetables, 
in point of colour and taste, might 
have been weeds gathered from the 
Colosseum or the Baths of Cara- 
calla, before the sediles of the new 
regime had taken to polishing up 
those public buildings. And the 
native wines, from the oil and cot- 
ton-stoppered flasks of the local 
vintages, to drugged Lachryma 
Christi and doctored Marsala, were 
in every way suitable to the viands. 
Nevertheless we have pleasant me- 
mories of the old pillared dining- 
hall in the Hdtel d'Angleterre, 
where we were probably sowing 
the seeds of indigestions that made 
change of air and of scene impera- 
tive towards Easter. 

Where the Italians excel — next 
to the Spaniards — is in their pas- 
try. We hardly knew that they 
ame in as correctives to heavy din- 
lers, but we look back to many 
\ laxurious light luncheon at the 
'ong tables laid at their restaurants 



in readiness for all comers by the 
Signori SpiUman or Nazzari. These 
were pleasant gossipy gatherings, 
where men rallied from the sur- 
rounding hotels and from the club 
round the corner. And talking of 
gatherings, Herr Spillman with his 
tent and his luncheon-tables used 
always to be in high feather at the 
suburban meets of the hounds. If 
the sport was indiflbrent, owing to 
the superabundance rather than the 
scarcity of foxes, and to those stiff 
posts and rails of seasoned oak that 
could only be negotiated by axes 
and handsaws, there was far more 
flirtation, fun, and merriment than 
at the grand meets de riffueur with 
the Py tchley or the Quorn. Strings 
of screws had been sent forward to 
be mounted at the city gates ; and 
well-filled carriages had gone roll- 
ing in rapid succession along the 
stones of the AppianWay, awaken- 
ing the silent echoes of the street of 
tombs ; and Eoman magnates, irre- 
proachable in their boots and pink, 
had come caracolling in intense 
self-satisfaction, looking the legit- 
imate descendants of the conquer- 
ors of the world. When the hounds 
went off to draw, with the riders 
following them, the rest of the com- 
pany remained by the pates and the 
ice-pails, under the shadow of the 
sepulchre of some mighty Roman 
house. Yet the less thoughtless 
must have often felt that there 
was something sacrilegious in these 
revellings; though we know that 
familiarity breeds contempt, and 
how quickly, even in Jerusalem, one 
becomes the dawdling man about 
town. Far more congenial to the 
spirit of the scenes were excursions 
to the lonely sea-shore, where by 
the grim fortalice of the medieval 
baron you might listen to the mel- 
ancholy lapping of the waves, as 
you sat on the swaid under the 
foliage of the stone-pines ; or to 



122 



BeeoUecitons a la foureJiette. 



[July 



some spot in the solitudes of the 
Campagna — and you could hardly 
go wrong — among the lines of 
broken aqueducts and the weed- 
covered mounds that marked the 
sites of imperial villas ; to the gar- 
dens of psJaces among the Alban 
hills, where cool grottoes, curtained 
with trailing maidenhair, offered 
seductive retreats to sauntering 
couples ; or even to those suburban 
Cockney resorts wh jre the columns 
of temples of the golden age had 
been defaced by the scribblings of 
generations of tourists. 

From Eome we might go south 
to the sunnier Campania — and how 
well we recollect the wayside meals 
purveyed by the proprietor of the 
lumbering vetfunno, which was 
packed with the jolly party of 
bachelors ! — to the cone of Vesu- 
vius, where we roasted our eggs 
in crevices in the flood of half- 
molten lava ; to the orange-gardens 
of Sorrento, hanging over the sea ; 
to the chestnut-groves and myrtle- 
thickets of Ischia, since devastated 
by earthquakes ; to the cliffs and 
caverns of the island of Tiberias, 
dear to that cosmopolitan colony of 
artists, with whom we speedily be- 
came sworn friends. Or we might 
turn back into Switzerland, when, 
responding to the rise of the ther- 
mometer, we went thither to cool 
the blood that had been growing 
feverish among the Lombard lakes, 
as we chilled the muscat-flavoured 
wines of the Yalais in the snows of 
the high Alps. But it is high time 
that we had done with picnics, and 
so we hasten eastwards to what we 
heard an American characterise as 
the tallest thing of the kind ever 
given on the face of this eternal 
old world. The nominal giver of 
the feast was the late Khedive of 
E$i^ypt; the real entertainers were 
his unfortunate fdlaheen, who, in 
their leanness from short commons 



on rice and maize, had been laid 
under involuntary contribution. 
The occasion was the opening of 
the Suez Canal, and at the head of 
the list of guests were an Empress 
and an Emperor, sundry Princes 
Eoyal, and innumerable minor po- 
tentates. Nobody who was there 
is likely to forget the palace that 
had risen as by enchantment in the 
desert, with the city of wood and 
canvas that encircled it, and the 
long ranges of open-air furnaces, 
with the battalion of cooks who 
were busy over the fires. A mon- 
ster picnic it was truly, for each 
article of the commissariat had been 
sent over leagues of sand, transport- 
ed either by the craft on the new 
canal or the more primitive " ships 
of the desert" The ^'companies 
of camels" had gathered in from 
all directions, bestridden here and 
there by black Nubian slaves, 
perched on the summits of the 
humps, and draped in variegated 
garments of goat-hair. They were es- 
corted by warlike Bedouins mount- 
ed on their mares, and armed to the 
teeth with lances and matchlocks. 
While, on the other hand, were the 
hordes of Frankish visitors, looking 
as if they had been equipped by 
the Messrs Moses or at the moffo- 
sin of the '' Bon Diable," and 
showing, it must be confessed, to 
humiliating disadvantage, as they 
passed in their thousands out of 
the squadrons of steamers. Except 
that they wore tweeds or broad- 
cloth for " curets," and carried sun- 
umbrellas for " ashen darts," they 
might have recalled one of the no- 
blest passages in Homer, finely turn- 
ed into English by old Ghapman,^ 

"And as from &ir« the frostie nortl 
wind blows a cold thick sleete 

That dazzles eyes, flakes after flakes in 
cessantly descending ; 

So thick helmes, cnrets, ashen darts, ant 
round shields never ending, 



1881.] 



SeeoUedionB d la fourcheite. 



123 



Flow*d from the navie's hollow wombe ; 

their splendours gave Heaven's eye 
His beams again ; Earth laught to see 

her Hce so like the skie ; 
Anas shined so hote, and she snch clouds 

made with the dust ahe cast." 

There were heat and dast enough 
in aU conscience; but there are 
life and health, as we learned, in 
the pure dry air of the desert, and 
the company brought Gargantuan 
appetites to Gargantuan prepara- 
tionfi. What may have happened 
to the provisions in transit we 
know not. If the beeves and the 
muttons did not travel thither on 
their own legs, which seemed im- 
possible, who can say how many 
joints may have been tainted or fly- 
blown ; and we have reason to he- 
lieve that the quantity of cham- 
pagne and seltzer-water wasted in 
explosions might have irrigated for 
many days one of those pretty 
flower-gardens which were already 
in bloom among the sands of 
Ismalia. ^o ill-bred French or 
British bondholder asked to look at 
the bill — just then : the overhaul- 
ing of accounts was reserved till 
some years later, when Mr Cave 
was charged with his memorable 
mission. All we knew was that, 
taking the circumstances into ac- 
ooont, the serving of a never-ceas- 
ing succession of banquets might 
have done credit to caterers in the 
' Arabian Nights,' when they could 
call enchanters into council, and send 
genii and Afrits on their errands. 
The supremea and the cotelettes a la 
qwdque chose or d la touts chose, 
were sent up simultaneously in 
dishes by the hundred ; and the 
ips of champagne, Bordeaux, and 
iui^andy were turned on, as if the 
magnificent Khedive had arranged 
rith M. Lesseps to lay pipes in 
onnection with the Gironde and 
he C6te d'Or. What if there 
night be an occasional touch of 



wood-smoke in a sauce ; if a flask 
that pretentiously styled itself 
Lafitte was evidently a pushing 
bottle of St Emilion ? Even short- 
comings like these were excep- 
tional: the eyes of the master-cooks 
and chief butlers could not be 
everywhere ; nor could one expect 
in the plenty of a Camacho's 
wedding, multiplied many hundred 
times with oriental profusion, the 
delicate artistic finish we look for 
with a Bignon or a Durand. As 
for plenty, the broken fragments 
might have been carried away by 
the waggon load, had they not been 
intercepted by the mixed multi- 
tude of camp-followers ; and many 
a boa - constrictorish adventurer 
went on Dugald Dalgetty's prin- 
ciple — victualling himself doubt- 
less for days to come. After he 
had gone more than satisfied from 
the board of the Viceroy, Bedouin 
chiefs laid violent hands on the 
stranger and dragged him away to 
their hospitable tents. 

Having oppressed him with tales 
of such heavy feeding, witli the 
thermometers indicating fabulous 
temperatures in the shade, we in- 
vite the reader to accompany us on a 
cruise or two, before bringing these 
rambling Recollections to a close. 
Memory flies back with us to days 
when original railway shareholders 
still dreamed of lucrative returns in 
legitimate profits, after fantastic 
prices had been paid for the land and 
for damages, — when, although a 
railway king had arisen at York, 
there were no lines sls yet to the 
north of Newcastle, and the Scotch 
traffic was still conducted by 
coaches. Naturally many people 
still travelled by sea, and the 
steamers of the time were both 
well - found and commodious. 
None of your narrow - waiated 
screws, down by the stem, send- 
ing tremors through the system 



124 



Reeollectwns d la foureJteile. 



[July 



even when the weather is fine, and 
with all- pervading smells of tar and 
engine-grease; but capacious, com- 
fortable craft, smoothly propelled 
by powerful paddles, with broad 
and beautifully clean quarter-decks 
where you could really take your 
ease, and icabins that were airy and 
fairly well ventilated. For our own 
part, even in boyhood's careless hours 
we had always some apprehension 
as to going down to the sea in 
ships of any kind. "Whether in 
the portly passenger steamer, in the 
luxurious pleasure yacht, or in the 
tiny cockle-shell of a cutter, com- 
bining the adventurous with the 
economical, it was much the same. 
Appetite and happiness depended 
on the weather. But then with us 
the mcd de mer was never chronic : 
it struck us almost by surprise, 
coming up like a squall over the 
still Mediterranean ; and it passed 
away for a time just as quickly, 
leaving us all the better. So that 
in rude health, or in the intervals of 
illness, our appetite on board ship 
was wolfish, and only to be paral- 
leled by the famine-fits we have 
experienced when suddenly trans- 
ported in the middle of August 
from the flagstones of Pall Mall to 
the slopes of Ben-something-or- 
other. So far as we remember, 
the stewards of the Scotch and 
London boats must have been 
very kindly fellows, and superior 
to sordid considerations. At all 
events, when intrusted to their 
care in travelling to and from 
school, before being advanced to 
the dignity of the jacket, they 
looked after us with fatherly inter- 
est. We remember how welcome 
was the shrill tinkle of the dinner- 
bell, when we were wearied with 
watching the monotonous panorama 
of cliifs and sandhills on the dis- 
tant coast-line, enlivened though it 
was by the swooping and clamour- 



ing sea-fowl in the foreground. 
How, when the weather was rough , 
with no sea legs on to speak of, we 
staggered and lurched when beating 
up for the "companion." How, 
hanging on by the hand-rail at the 
side, stumbling and slipping down 
the brass-bound steps, we steadied 
ourselves on the dancing floor of 
the cabin, and settled into one of 
the seats on the horse- hair sofa, be- 
fore a table that was creaking under 
oscillating lamps. How the com- 
pany at dinner was select in num- 
ber, and the majority showed a 
stern resolution of countenance, as 
if they had screwed up their cour- 
age to do and dare. How the con- 
versation would have languished, 
had it not been for the bluff and 
gruff old captain, who was support- 
ed by some ancient mariner like 
himself, and one or two other weath- 
er-beaten individuals whose internal 
fittings might have been of cast- 
iron. How we responded with 
genuine politeness to the attentions 
of our affable patron the steward, 
by partaking freely of the dishes 
he pressed on us. By the way, 
corned beef and carrots used to 
figure conspicuously among these, 
and we found it went admirably with 
the unfamiliar bottled porter. How 
the pale-faced lady who had been 
generally commended for her pluck, 
beat a precipitate retreat on the 
appearance of the butter-boats 
which accompanied the fish ; how her 
rosy-gilled neighbour, who had been 
gradually turning livid like herself, 
welcomed the opportunity of assist- 
ing her on deck ; how one or two 
more succumbed ignominiously to 
the boiled mutton ; and how we mf 
personally have held out to th 
pastry, when we knocked under 1 
internal qualms. If we showed 
face so resolute to adverse fortun 
it may be imagined how happy w 
were when the seas were serene 



1881.] 



Recollectiom d la fourchette. 



125 



more especially on the eve of the 
grouse-shooting, when the yelpings 
of pointers and setters on the fore- 
deck made most melodious music 
in oar ears, and when jovial sports- 
men, pleased with our enthusiasm, 
good-naturedly condescended to he 
amused by us, occasionally closing 
the acquaintance with a tip. 

We daresay those seafaring din- 
ners and breakfasts may scarcely 
have been all our fancy paints 
them; and it is certain that the 
practice of cooking on board ship 
must have been greatly refined and 
developed since then. We have 
often marvelled at the wonderful 
culiaary resources of a " Cunarder " 
or a vessel of the "P. and 0." 
After much information vouchsafed 
to our cariosity by head-cooks and 
parsers, we confess ourselves still at 
a loss to understand how those 
tremendously solid meals can be 
prepared in the very limited space 
of one of their patent modern bat- 
teries de cuisine. But it is a still 
greater mystery how the Anglo- 
Indian valetudinarians are in case 
to dispose of them. If a man's 
machinery be independent of in- 
voluntary motion, we can conceive 
of his going ravenously to work 
when rocked on the breast of the 
broad Atlantic ; and we know that 
Americans, notwithstanding the 
national dyspepsia, may be relied 
on to play excellent knives and 
forks. But against either native- 
bom American or emigrating Briton, 
we should be content, for staying 
powers, to back the Anglo-Indian 
gentleman, voyaging eastward after 
^ong leave devoted to patching up 
lis liver. Had the Peninsular and 
Oriental Company not consulted 
be tastes of its patrons, it must 
urely have revolutionised its 
nenus long ago. We have sailed 
rom Southampton in sound bodily 
wndition, made decent weather 



of it in ** Biscay's sleepless bay," 
and so long as we were to the west- 
ward of the Pillars of Hercules, 
have neither felt surprise nor ex- 
pressed distaste at the cuisine. 
Steaming westwards, the weather 
grew warmer and warmer, till the 
iron stanchions of the awnings be- 
came hot to the touch, and the air 
in the sleeping - cabins more and 
more offensive. Baths and morning 
coffee did much ; but still we had 
an apprehension that our marrow 
might be simmering in our bones 
long before we arrived at the Isth- 
mus. We felt inclined to turn 
total abstainers and vegetarians, 
and would have indulged ourself 
for choice at the dinner-hour, if we 
could, with some such trifle as 
a light mayonnaise of butterflies. 
But day after day our discomfort 
at meals was aggravated by disgust, 
which may have had its origin in 
envy. There was the invariable 
profusion of steaming dishes on the 
breakfast - table, that would have 
been appropriate to the latitudes of 
Scotland or Scandinavia. There 
was the same lavish display of pon- 
derous joints at dinner, with mulli- 
gatawnies and other messes of simi- 
lar consistency. Yet day after day, 
and meal after meal, cadaverous 
civilians, sallow - cheeked soldiers, 
and ladies who lounged away the 
days in their lolling-chairs, seldom 
stirring a finger except to wave a 
fan, went to work on the fare with 
unabated eagerness. 

They manage these things some- 
what better, as may be supposed, 
on the Messageries boats. The 
genius of the French cliefs is less 
material; and with them, for ex- 
ample, the curry was but a piquant 
sauce sent up with the tempting 
platters of perfectly boiled rice. 
Yet we soon found that the French 
steamers had drawbacks of their 
own. We sailed once from the East 



126 



Eecolleetions d la fourchette. 



[July 



for Sicily, in a splendid vessel, ^ith 
barely a dozen of fellow-passengers. 
Nevertheless, repasts that were both 
well devised and sumptaous were 
laid oat every day in the spacious 
saloon. The pity of it was that we 
could never, for the life of us, taste 
a morsel. The vessel unhappily 
rolled a little to the light breezes : 
the captain, with the frank, rough 
bearing of a fire-eating old sea-dog, 
was the most careful of timid mari- 
ners ; so there was a standing order 
that, to guard against accidents, all 
the port-holes and bull's- eyes should 
be secured. The consequence was 
that we slept and breathed an at- 
mosphere that at last became posi- 
tively fetid : the roses faded out of 
our damask cheeks, and our souls 
sickened at the sight or smell of 
food. Knowing all the time that 
free ventilation below would have 
made us a man again, we languish- 
ed as we could on lemonade and 
oranges, falling off sensibly in flesh 
and spirits. It was a blessed hour 
when, disembarking in the harbour 
of Palermo, we hurried off to our 
good friend Signor Ragusa's hotel, 
to run all the risks of a surfeit in 
oar state of extreme inanition. 

On that melancholy cruise, with 
an excellent table within reach of 
ns, we suffered something like the 
torments of Tantalus; but much 
more frequently, on small foreign 
coasting craft, we have been lowered 
to starvation-point by sheer repulsion. 
The dishes were so foul, and the 
preparation was so filthy, that we 
could only hold aloof, and long to 
be landed; while acute sufferings 
from hunger were not unfrequently 
aggravated by thirst. Once we 
were so much left to ourself as to 
take a passage down the Gulf of 
Corinth in a small Greek boat. 
For showing us the enchanting 
scenery, the vessel's programme 
was admirable; for we zigzagged 



from coast to coast, and took 
five days to fetch Corfu. The 
weather might have been called 
exquisite, had it not been so 
overpoweringly hot. And unfortun- 
ately, the courtesy of the captain 
was extreme. He would insist 
upon ceremoniously treating us as 
an honoured guest. He seated us 
at his own right hand, and pressed 
dish after dish upon us with orien- 
tal hospitality. And these dishes 
of strange and mysterious meats 
were smothered in the greasiest 
sauces, and scented and flavoured 
with the most detestable herbs. 
Had the tipple been tolerable, we 
might have managed better. Bat 
our shrivelled tongue clove to our 
parched palate ; and the diabolical 
Greek wine, with its strong in- 
fusion of resin, seemed positively 
to hiss upon our smarting lip9. 
We have no great liking for pure 
water as a dinner beverage in onlin- 
ary circumstances, but what would 
we have given then for a cool filter 
at our elbow ! As for the fluid 
that was carried in the grimy water- 
butts, it had a worse flavour than 
the wine, and was more than luke- 
warm to boot. We trust that we 
held out with Spartan beroism, 
smoothing our face into smiles to 
reject the captain's civilities; and 
happily we found some relief on 
our runs ashore, when we satur- 
ated ourself with lemonade in the 
shabby cafes. But the day when 
we set foot on the strand at Corfu, 
like that other landing at Palermo, 
almost repaid us for our previous 
pains, and will always be cherished 
in our memory. At that time tb'^ 
British colours flew from the fort 
fications, and leaving our lugga^ 
to the mercies of a lacquais c 
place, we rushed up to a Highlan 
sergeant who stood looking 01 
The honest fellow was taken abac 
by our inarticulate earnestness ; bi 



1881.] 



BeeoUeetions a la fourchttte. 



127 



when he undeistood the sitaation, 
we had his wannest sympathy. He 
could take ns to a tayem where 
they sold capital pale ale, and was 
willing enoagh to act as guide and 
as taster too. So before we climbed 
the difis to a friend's quarters in 
the citadel, we had eaten and 
drunken to our heart's content. As 
for the bitter ale, it tasted like 
that nectar of the gods which we 
had failed to find under the seats of 
some of those deities on Parnassus. 
We forbear from glancing back 
at the greater horrors of Turkish and 
Spanishsteamers — aggravated, more- 
oyer, by seeing the cooking going 
forward on the deck in hands that 
might haye been grubbing all morn- 
ing in the coal-bunkers. And we end 
our article with the brighter sketch 
of a merry noon-day dinner on a 
river steamer. Though the hour 
may have been unsuitable, accord- 
ing to our insular notions, we re- 
member nothing pleasanter than the 
tables set out under the awnings on 
the deck of a boat on the Khine or 
the Danube. Where there is no 
moTement but what is agreealJe; 
where there are no sounds of suffer- 
ing from adjacent state - cabins ; 
where everybody is happy, or ap- 
pears so, and when most of the 
party are making holiday, — there 
is an air of light conviviality about 
the long-necked flasks that ought 
hardly to hurt the sensibilities of 



the most thorough-paced total ab- 
stainer. Then the scenery that 
glides past as the boat shoots on 
surpasses the noblest landscape- 
paintings in the most princely 
dining-hall; while the decorations 
nature displays on the banks are 
worth any quantity of flowers and 
fruits adorning all the diners d. la 
Basse, Castles and convents, vine- 
yards, villages, and orchards, all 
pass before the eyes in turn ; now 
we change the course to leave room 
for a lumbering raft ; now we 
give the go-by to a string of deep- 
laden lighters, dragging along in 
the wake of the panting steam- 
tug ; or we touch bank for a 
moment or two at some pier, or 
slacken speed for the shore -boat 
rocking on our wash, that has come 
off from a hamlet to land a passenger. 
So all the senses are soothed or 
agreeably excited simultaneously, 
and we feel in peace and charity 
with all the world; till even the 
strains of the brass band from amid- 
ships are floating on the air in 
sounds that seem seraphic. Had 
we stopped our ears to the charm- 
ing of the oberkeUner ; had we 
churlishly turned our back on the 
company, the calves' cutlets, and 
the Riidesheimer or the Voslauer, — 
we could never have enjoyed the 
scenery half so much, while we 
should have regarded the bandsmen 
as unmitigated nuisances. 



128 



Tunis. 



[Jdy 



TUNIS. 



If a straight line were to be 
drawn from the frontiers of India 
on the east to the coast of North 
Africa on the west, it would pass 
through an unbroken series of Mo- 
hammedan countries, which have 
one and all of them at some time 
or another played an important part 
in the history of the world. A 
very large proportion of the States 
in question are dependencies of the 
Ottoman empire, which has gener- 
ally been understood up to the 
present time to comprise within 
its limits, not only Arabia and 
Syria, but the Pashalics or Regencies 
of Jpgypt, Tripoli, and Tunis. From 
the banks of the Tigris to the now 
famous Hamfr mountains on the 
frontiers of Algeria, numberless 
Moslem tribes acknowledge the 
civil and religious supremacy of the 
Caliphs at Stamboul, and consider 
their own immediate rulers, the 
Khedives, Beys, or Pachas, as velis, 
viceroys, or governors. This fealty 
paid to the Sultan of Turkey 
throughout Egypt, Tripoli, and 
Tunis (no say nothing of Asia 
Minor and Arabia) is no doubtful 
sentiment or political fiction ; it is 
a living, actual, and unmistakable 
reality, and forms part of the 
common ideas as to civil duty 
entertained by every good Moslem 
throughout these three provinces. 

The Regency of Tunis has, since 
1830, formed the extreme western 
boundary of the Ottoman empire, 
and recent events which have oc- 
curred in connection with it have 
in a very marked manner attract- 
ed the attention of Europe to its 
history, its political status, and 
its ultimate fate. The Tunisian 
Beylic occupies nearly thel centre 
of the northern shores of Africa; 
and its sea coast, which extends 



first eastward and then due south, 
forms an irregular line of nearly 
500 miles. The country is in- 
habited from one hundred to two 
hundred and fifty miles inland, is 
watered by several large streams, 
and possesses a fertile soO, large 
unexplored mineral wealth, and a 
peaceful and industrious popula- 
tion. In the north is situated the 
great natural harbour of Bizerta, 
and the port of Goletta. Susa and 
Sfax are of considerable mercantQe 
importance. The export trade of 
the country is for the most part 
confined to oil, esparto grass, wool, 
and cereals, and its imports consist 
chiefly of colonial produce and 
manufactured goods. There are 
about 30,000 European colonists in 
Tunis, of which 16,000 are Italians 
and 10,000 Maltese. I refrain 
from alluding even in the briefest 
manner to the annals of Tunis prior 
to its conquest by the Arabs. The 
history of Phcenician, Roman, and 
Byzantine Tunis is the history of 
Carthage. In the twenty-first year 
of the Hegira, Tunis was invaded 
by the Arabs under Okba, and 
before a quarter of a century had 
elapsed it was completely occupied 
by its conquerors. In 698 a.d. 
Hassan - ben - el Neman destroyed 
the Byzantine Carthage which had 
sprung up on the ruins of the 
Phoenician and Roman cities, and 
a victorious Ikloslem army reached 
the shores of the Atlantic, founding 
the provinces of Algeria and ^lor- 
occo. We hear of one dynasty < 
rulers succeeding another down t 
the time when the great family 
Beni Ilafs obtained the supren 
power in Tunis, and held it for jui 
three hundred years. One of tl 
most celebrated of this race, Moi 
ley Muhamed, died in 1525, b 



1881.] Tunis. 

queatbing bis tbrone to bis yonngest 
son, Mouley Hassan. In order to 
render bis own position unassail- 
able, Moaley Hassan planned tbe 
massacre of bis brotbers. Two of 
1 4iem were assassinated, but tbe sar- 
vivor, Eesbid, contrived to escape. 
Taking refuge in tbe first instance 
witb tbe celebrated Turkisb corsair 
Kbeir-ed-Din, be afterwards accom- 
panied bis protector to Constanti- 
nople. Tbe Saltan, Soliman, readi- 
ly agreed to espouse bis cause, and 
undertake tbe conquest of Tunis on 
bis bebalf ; but before tbe Turkisb 
armament set sail in 1534, Resbid 
was tbrown into a Turkisb prison, 
from wbicb be does not appear to 
baTB ever emerged. Tbe plans of' 
Kheir-ed'Din were attended with 
complete success; tbe gates of Tunis 
were tbrown open to bim, tbe im- 
perial banner of tbe Calipbs was 
unfurled on tbe citadel, and tbe first 
act of tbe conquerors was to pro- 
claim tbe overthrow of tbe dynasty 
of tbe Beni Hafs, and tbat bence- 
fortb obedience was to be paid 
exclusiyely to tbe vdi or deputy 
of tbe Porte. It was tbus tbat 
tbe Calipbs obtained political as 
well as religious supremacy in 
Tunis. In tbe course of a few days 
tbe gates of tbe boly city of Cair- 
w4a were opened to tbe Turkisb 
viceroy, and tbe deposed Mouley 
Hassan fled to tbe Court of Charles 
V. Tbe Emperor promised to assist 
him, and during tbe summer of 
1535 appeared off Goletta — tbe 
Piraeus of tbe Tunisian capital — 
witb a fleet of 400 sail and an army 
of about 30,000 men. The forces 
of Spain, Flanders, Portugal, Italy, 
md tbe Knights of St John, took 
lart in this famous expedition. 
Jomplete success attended tbe op- 
irations of tbe invading army, 
Slheir - ed - Din was defeated, and 
>foaley Hassan was once more 
>laced upon tbe throne of his 
S&thers. On tbe 6th August 1535, 

VOL. CXXX. — NO. DCCLXXXIX. 



129 



be signed a treaty by wbicb be ac- 
knowledged himself to be a vassal 
of Spain, and bearing in many of 
its details a remarkable resemblance 
to tbe hardly less important con- 
vention which, on tbe 12th May 
1881, rendered tbe Regency of Tunis 
a fief of tbe French EepubUc. The 
Turks, however, continued to offer 
tbe most strenuous resistance to 
Mouley Hassan and bis Spanish 
allies. In 1573, Sinan Pasha, the 
Turkish general, regained possession 
of tbe Regency, which was entirely 
evacuated by tbe Spaniards, and 
proceeded to reorganise the govern- 
ment of tbe country on behalf of 
tbe Sublime Porte. The supreme 
power was intrusted to a Pasha 
named by the Sultan, who was to 
be assisted by a Cadi (appointed 
in the same manner) and a divan 
or council. The public prayer was 
to mention only the '* ruling Sultan 
of tbe Osmanlis," and in bis name 
alone was all money current in 
Tunis to be coined. Up to within 
six weeks ago the doors of the 
Hall of Justice at the Bardo Palace 
were always tbrown open at four 
o'clock, and the public invited by 
proclamation to pay homage to their 
most puissant suzerain the Emper- 
or of Turkey, whose virtues were 
loudly set forth by a functionary 
appointed for the purpose. In 
1705, one Hossein ben Ali became 
Bey or Pacha of Tunis, and his 
descendants have remained in power 
ever since. The present Bey, Mu- 
bamed - es - Sadik, succeeded bis 
brother in 1869. 

These references to tbe past his- 
tory of Tunis are necessary in order 
to estimate the gravity of the events 
wbicb recently happened there. 
The author of * Les Annales Tunis- 
iennes' has compiled an elaborate 
record of the history of the Regency 
between the years 1525 and 1832. 
M. Rousseau was first interpreter 
of the Prench Consulate- General at 



130 



Tunis in 1860, and had access to 
the voluminous archives of that 
office. An examination of the re- 
sults of his labours puts the ques- 
tion of the political status of Tunis 
during the period above referred to 
beyond the possibility of a doubt. 
Some such investigation is rendered 
necessary by the fact that M. Bar- 
th^my Saint-Hilaire, in a circular 
of the 9th May 1881 (which was is- 
sued simultaneously with a " Livre- 
jaune" on Tunisian aflGEurs), declares 
that '' France has always regarded 
Tunis as an independent country;'' 
whereas Earl Granville, in his letter 
to Lord Lyons of the 17th June 
1880, says that, "in the view of 
her Majesty's Government, Tunis 
was a portion of the Ottoman em- 
pire." The history of Tunis as 
written by M. Rousseau, and a 
study of the various treaties enter- 
ed into between that country and 
France, leave no doubt whatever 
either as to the legitimacy of the 
Sultan's claims to suzerainty, or as 
to the correctness of the facts con- 
tained in his appeal to the great 
Powers. M. Rousseau teUs us of 
the constant arrival in Tunis of 
special envoys from the Porte ; of 
the investiture of each succeeding 
Bey with the kaftariy or robe of 
honour sent from Stamboul ; of 
frequent applications made to the 
Porte in matters concerning Tunis 
by the French ambassador at Con- 
stantinople ; of decisions on several 
occasions pronounced by Turkish 
commissioners as to disputes be- 
tween Tunis and Algiers ; and 
of Austria, Venice, and Tuscany 
negotiating conventions with Tunis 
through the good offices of the Sul- 
tan. The testimony afiforded by the 
texts of the thirteen Franco-Tunis- 
ian treaties entered into between 
1604 and 1830, is still more con- 
vincing. The Bey of Tunis is 
uniformly styled as the Viceroy, 
Dey, Captain-General, or Pacha of 



Tunis. [^^J 

the Odjak of Tunis ; the treaties 
made by France with the Sublime 
Porte from the year 1535 are 
ratified and confirmed, and in 
several of the conventions it is 
stipulated that French vessels 
coming to Tunis shall only pay 
"the dues levied in other parts 
of the Ottoman empire." In 1830, 
a Tunisian force was sent to the 
aid of the Sultan ; and even as late 
as 1854, the Bey of Tunis sent a 
contingent of 15,000 to join the 
Turkish army in the Crimea. There 
can therefore be no doubt as to 
the untenabUity of the position 
assumed by M. St Hilaire, whose 
arguments involve a dilemma from 
which there is no escape. He says 
Tunis is, and always has been, 
independent. Nobody disputes 
that she accepted the fimian of 
1871 ratifying her position as a 
dependency of the Sublime Porte. 
If she accepted those conditions 
as an independent State, they are 
equally binding on her, and must 
of necessity impugn the validity 
of any arrangement now made in 
defiance of them. These con- 
siderations are of little practical 
importance, as the dependency of 
Tunis on Turkey, politically speak- 
ing, is substantiated beyond the 
possibility of a doubt. 

We now come to the considera- 
tion of the relations of Great Brit- 
ain with Tunis. Between 1662 
and 1 826, fifteen conventions were 
entered into by the two countries. 
The conditions obtained were sing- 
ularly favourable to English com- 
merce ; and we always appear to 
have been considered in the light 
of the most favoured nation. Art 
cle 24 of the Treaty of 1751 rj 
thus : " Que les sujets de fc 
Majesty Britannique seront toi 
jours traits par TEtat de Tun 
avec le plus haut degr^ d'egarc 
d'amiti^, et d'honneur, parceqr 
les Anglais, de toutes les autr 



1881.] 



Tunis. 



131 



nations sont les premiers et les 
meilleurs amis." During upwards 
of two centuries our forefathers 
jealously watched our position in 
Tunis as '* the most favoured 
nation;" and M. Bousseau clear- 
ly points out that whenever France 
managed to obtain some excep- 
tional privileges, England immedi- 
ately demanded similar concessions 
for herself. Besides the treaties 
above alluded to, two other im- 
portant conventions exist between 
Great Britain and Tunis. By 
that of 1863, English subjects 
acquired the right of holding real 
property in Tunis in their own 
name; while that of 1875 relates 
almost exclusively to commerce. 
In virtue of the one, British sub- 
jects have acquired much land in 
the Eegency ; whUe the other has 
not a little contributed to the de- 
velopment of international trade. 

During a reign of twenty -two 
years, Muhamed-es-8adik has hon- 
estly tried to insure to each Euro- 
pean nation a just respect for rights 
acquired by treaty, and has always 
refused to allow one of his allies to 
profit by the loss of another. In 
1869 the finances of the country 
were, with the consent and ap- 
proval of England, France, and 
Italy, placed in the hands of an In- 
ternational Financial Commission, 
in which all three Powers were 
equally represented. A large por- 
tion of the revenues of the country 
have been conceded to the Commis- 
sion in order to secure the punc- 
tual payment of the interest on 
the funded debt ; but they are col- 
lected and administered in strict 
xinformity with the treaty engage- 
uents existing between the Kegency 
if Tunis and the Powers. The 
Bey has invariably shown a dispo- 
lition to favour in every way the 
introduction of foreign capital into 
is country; but he has always 
jndeavoured, in the concessions he 



has granted, to maintain his own 
independence. Ten years ago seve- 
ral English companies embarked in 
different enterprises in Tunis. Of 
these one still exists, while a second 
has ceded its rights to the Italian 
Rubattino Company. 

One of the most important events 
of the reign of Muhamed-es-Sadik 
Bej was the reception of a firman 
from the Sultan in 1871. Although 
the Bey had been formally invested 
on his accession to the throne twelve 
years before, he felt that time had 
somewhat weakened the tie which 
bound him ,*as a vassal to the Ca- 
liph, and was anxious to place the 
position of Tunis towards the Otto- 
man empire beyond the possibility 
of dispute or cavil. In 1863 M. 
Drouyn de Lhuys had informed 
a French banker who was about 
to contract for a Tunisian loan, 
that the consent of the Porte was 
necessary to "legitimise " the trans- 
action ; but subsequent events had 
induced France to call in question 
the rights of the Sultan as suzerain 
of Tunis. So strongly did France 
oppose the reception of the con- 
firmatory firman^ that she threat- 
ened to prevent the landing of the 
Turkish commissioner. The fir- 
man, however, was brought in state 
to Tunis, and proclaimed with pub- 
lic festivities and rejoicings. It 
declared that the Regency of Tunis 
should form, as heretofore, an inte- 
gral part of the Ottoman empire ; 
that although the Bey might make 
commercial treaties with foreign 
Powers, he was entirely debarred 
from entering into political conven- 
tions with them, or ceding to them 
any part of Tunisian territory ; and 
that the forfeiture of the right of 
hereditary succession should follow 
any violation of the essential con- 
ditions of the imperial kltat. On 
the 8th November 1871, the 'Times' 
commences an article on the sub- 
ject of Tunis with these words : 



132 



Tunis. [J'^y 



" The Tanisian Regency is now de 
jure and de facto an integral part 
of the Ottoman empire;" and nearly 
all the Powers of Europe appear 
to have entertained the same opin- 
ion. England, Austria, and Eussia 
officially congratulated the Bey on 
the reception of the firman^ and 
have, as well as other Powers, acted 
upon it ever since. The Liberal 
Cabinet of England took a promi- 
nent part in the negotiations which 
led to the action of the Porte in 
1871; and the activity of Mr Glad- 
stone and Lord Granville in assist- 
ing the Bey to obtain the firman 
when France was weak in 1871, 
forms a striking contrast to the 
apathy with which they have wit- 
nessed its destruction in 1881 when 
France is strong, powerful, and there- 
fore to be dreaded. In 1878 the 
Bey sent both money and supplies 
to Constantinople, and Eussia with- 
drew her Consul from Tunis on the 
outbreak of hostilities. The Ger- 
man Emperor in 1872 refused to 
receive a Tunisian envoy unless 
presented by the Turkish ambassa- 
dor, and England has invariably 
assumed a similar position. 

With these unavoidable refer- 
ences to the history of Tunis in 
the past, I now propose to sketch 
the events which led to and at- 
tended the recent French invasion 
of the country, and culminated in 
the signing of the Treaty of Kasr- 
Essaid on the 12 th May 1881. 
In 1876 Monsieur Theodore Rou- 
stan arrived at Tunis as French 
Charg^ d' Affaires. Restless, ambi- 
tious, and energetic, he soon evinced 
a disposition to advance French in- 
terests in the country with a high 
hand. Two years later Signer Li- 
curgo Macci6, an old rival of M. 
Roustan's in Egypt, succeeded to 
the post of Italian Consul-General 
in Tunis, and seemed determined 
to contest his French colleague's 
endeavours to assert for France 



an exclusive prepondSrance at the 
Tunisian Conrt. Abont tiiis time 
the capabilities of Tunis as a field 
for enterprise and speculation at- 
tracted the attention of the capital- 
ists of Paris and Marseilles, and the 
Societe des Oomptoirs Maritimes, 
the SociSte Marseillaise, and the 
SoeiSte des BatlgnoUes hastened to 
establish branches in the Regency. 
In M. Ronstan they found an able 
and devoted ally. The Bey was 
induced to grant to the last-named 
Company a concession to construct 
a railway across his territory to- 
wards the Tunisian frontier, and a 
year later he unwillingly permitted 
the constructors to effect a junction 
with the Algerian lines. Five years 
ago a very similar grant was made 
to an Englishman ; but as the peca- 
niary success of the undertaking was 
more than problematical, the pro- 
ject wholly failed to find favour in 
the English market. M. Ronstan, 
however, induced the Crovemment 
of the Republic to guarantee a sat- 
isfactory interest on the necessary 
capital; and it was then he must 
have unfolded his plans, which, 
three years later, resulted in the 
events which Europe has .witnesa- 
ed during the past three months. 
ITot content with the success 
achieved by the SocietS des Batig- 
nolles, M. Roustan embarked on 
other similar adventures in aid of 
"French interests." Seven years 
before, the Bey of Tunis had granted 
to M. de Sancy a vast domain, to 
be held under certain specific con- 
ditions, called Sidi Tabet The 
grant was purely personal, and 
amongst other things M. de Sancv 
engaged to maintain on the eeta 
such an establishment as woi 
conduce to the improvement of t 
native breed of horses. Accordi 
to the terms of his agreement wi 
the Tunisian Government, M. 
Sancy 's rights were forfeited, a. 
an attempt was made by the B 



1881.] 



Tunis. 



133 



(who even then appears to have 
become alarmed at M. Eoastan's 
progress) to recover possession 
of the property in the manner 
prescribed by the original deed 
of gift. M. Koustan, however, 
promptly intervened; the Tunis- 
ian Minister was obliged to pub- 
licly demand pardon for invading 
a French possession, and M. de 
Sancy's grant was renewed, but 
with powers of cession. The do- 
main of Sidi Tabet has now passed 
into the hands of the Soeiete Mar- 
seiUaise. Shortly afterwards a M. 
Oscar Gay arrived at Tunis. He 
brought with him a project, which 
appears to have been of too ad- 
vanced a nature even for M. Eous- 
tan, although he very strongly sup- 
ported it M. Gay desired to re- 
build the city, and reconstruct the 
ports, of Carthage. The Bey re- 
fused to accept his proposals, and he 
was obliged to rest contented with 
a considerable indemnity for lost 
time, and the Grand Cordon of 
the Tunisian Order. During 1880 
M. Koustan pressed the granting 
of several other concessions on the 
Bey, but in the summer of that 
year he received a temporary check 
which has never been forgotten or 
forgiven. The English railway be- 
tween Tunis and the Goletta came 
into the market, and after a spirit- 
ed competition it was purchased by 
the Italian Eubattino Company. 
M. Roustan at once obtained grants 
for lines to the coast and to Bizerta, 
and a general undertaking from the 
Tunisian Governments to refrain 
from allowing the construction of 
any other railways in the country 
riihout first offering them to French 
apitalists. M. Macci6 now en- 
leavonred to obtain permission to 
onnect the Eegency with the tele- 
praphic lines of Itidy by a subma- 
Ine cable; but M. Koustan induced 
he Bey to refuse his consent, al- 
hoagh the French pretensions to 



monopolise telegraphic communi- 
cation could on no ground be de- 
fended. Shortly afterwards a con- 
cession was granted for the con- 
struction of a port at Tunis, which 
would render the Eubattino line 
practically useless. During the 
summer of 1880 M. Eoustan first 
intimated to the Bey his plans for 
the establishment over the Eegency 
of a French Protectorate ; and as 
time went on, he pressed the matter 
with increasing energy on Muhamed- 
es-Sadik, but without any favour- 
able result. The Bey informed 
the Sultan of these proposals, and 
seemed inclined to court the aid of 
Italy. Matters were in this posi- 
tion at the beginning of the present 
year, when the dispute commonly 
known as the Enflda case attract- 
ed public attention in England to 
Tunis, and more particularly to M. 
Eoustan's proceedings. The ex- 
Prime Minister of Tunis, Kheir-ed- 
Din Pacha, possessed an enormous 
domain in the neighbourhood of 
the city of Cairwdn called the 
"Enfida." An English subject, 
Mr Levy, was the proprietor of a 
neighbouring estate, known as the 
" Sujah." Mr Levy was in treaty 
for the purchase of the Enfida, 
when the Soeiete Marseillaise inter- 
vened and induced the Pacha to sell 
it to them. According to the local 
law of Tunis, adjoining proprietors 
have the right of exercising pre- 
emption, and obtaining possession 
of the property sold, on repaying 
the purchase -money, with certain 
formalities, to the original vendee. 
This right was exercised by Mr 
Levy, and the local courts put 
him in possession of the Enfida. 
M. Eoustan forcibly ejected Mr 
Levy's agents from a house on the 
estate, but failed to deprive him 
of the bulk of the property. The 
matter was referred to England : 
two ships of war were sent to 
counteract M. Eoustan's attempt 



134 



to overawe the Tunisian author- 
ities, and to this day Mr Levy 
remains the occupant of the Enfida. 
The action of the Government in 
this matter, rightly or wrongly, im- 
pressed the Bey with a conviction 
that England was not prepared to 
surrender her interests in Tunis, 
and that Mr Gladstone would adopt 
a policy in conformity with his 
views of 1871. M. Roustan next 
demanded, on behalf of a M. Een- 
ault, the authorisation of the Bey 
for the formation of an Agricultural 
Bank, with peculiar and exclusive 
privileges ; and his request was re- 
fused. During the months of Jan- 
uary and February in the present 
year, the Havas Telegraphic Agency 
and the French press entered on an 
active campaign against Tunis, tak- 
ing the Enfida case and the Agri- 
cultural Bank as their text; and the 
assertion of French propoiiderancey 
the establishment of the Protector- 
ate, or even the total annexation of 
the Regency, were openly discussed. 
A French writer in a very remark- 
able pamphlet, 'Les Fran^ais en 
Tunisie,' alludes in the following 
terms to the means used to justify 
the approaching campaign in the 
eyes of France : — 

" C'est en cela," writes Videns, " con- 
siste I'art moderne des gouvernants. 
lis ont pour instruments choisis, dans 
I'exercise de cet art, les Agences tele- 
graph iques, qui sont ^ leurs ordres : 
pour instruments volontaires les jour- 
naux juils, ou financiers, c'est la 
jneme chose, et il y en a beaucoup : 
pour instruments aveugles on in- 
conscients, les malheureux journaux, 
meme honnetes, contraints par la ne- 
cessite de fournir des nouvelles h. leurs 
abonnes, de reproduire les dcpeches et 
les correspondences toutes faites des 
Agences, dont il leur est materielle- 
ment impossible de se passer." 

The Italian and English press, 
however, strongly advocated the 
maintenance of the status quo in 
Tunis 3 and it soon became evident 



Tunis* [Jrdj 

that some better excuse for proceed- 
ing to extremities than the Enfida 
case must be put forward. The 
action of M. Roustan in that matter 
had wellnigh involved France in 
a very disagreeable complication. 
During the early days of March, 
M. St Hilaire thought it prudent 
to distinctly deny any desire on 
the part of France to obtain a pro- 
tectorate over Tunis. 

The activity of M. Roustan en- 
abled him in a short time to furnish 
his Government with a fresh pre- 
text for hostile action towards the 
Tunisian Government, and with 
one which entailed no undesirable 
entanglement with a European 
Power. He fell back on the 
time-honoured cclsus belli of a 
frontier raid. Between Tunis and 
Algeria is a spur of the Atlas 
range, stretching from a point some 
sixty miles inland to the shores of 
the Mediterranean near Tabarca. 
One slope is inhabited by the 
Tunisian tribe of Hamirs (any 
other rendering of the name is 
absolutely incorrect), while the 
other is peopled by the Algerian 
tribe of Nehed. The Hamirs are 
sturdy, warlike, and quarrelsome 
agriculturists, never too loyal sub- 
jects of the Bey, but by no means 
the brigands they have been de- 
scribed to be. In the last days 
of March a dispute arose between 
some of the Hamirs and their 
neighbours the Neheds, and in an 
affray a Hamfr was killed and some 
Nehed tents burned. A company 
of French soldiers interfered ; the 
Hamirs were attacked an Tunisian 
terrifort/y and five French soldiers 
and several Hamirs lost their liv« 
in the melee. This occurred oi 
the 31st March ; and within sh 
weeks from that time, Tunis, as ai 
independent country, ceased to ex 
ist, and the Sultan was depriyer' 
of one of his richest and most im 
portant dependencies. 



1881.] Tunis. 

The important role of the Havas 
Telegraphic Agency now began . The 
£[amir raids were exaggerated ; and 
as the massacre of Colonel Flatters' 
expedition happened to occur at the 
same time, care was taken to con- 
fuse as much as possible the two 
events. Battles between the Al- 
gerians and the Hamirs were de- 
scribed one day and contradicted 
the next, and public excitement 
in France soon reached a pitch 
which permitted of no delay on 
the part of the Government. It 
was decided to punish the Hamirs. 
Preparations were commenced in 
Algeria and in France, and M. St 
Hilaire distinctly assured both 
Signor Cairoli and Lord Granville 
that France had no other ulterior 
views beyond the vindication of 
her honour and the prevention of 
farther disorders on the frontiers. 
These declarations were explicit, 
clear, and unmistakable. On the 
nth April 1881, M. Jules Ferry 
denied that France had any idea 
of conquest^ and assured the French 
Chamber of Deputies (with refer- 
ence to an insinuation to the con- 
trary) that "entre cette operation 
militaire et Taflfaire d'Enfida il 
n'y a aucune relation, directe ou in- 
directe." With these assurances 
England and Italy had no other 
alternative but to remain content. 
On the 7th April M. Eoustan 
annonnced to the Tunisian Govern- 
ment that the French Eepublic " a 
decide d'infliger un chatiment k 
quelques-unes des tribus Tunisi- 
ennes." The Bey immediately an- 
swered that he was able and willing 
to inflict himself any punishment 
France desired on the frontier tribes, 
and respectfully protested in his 
own name and that of his suzerain 
against the violation of his terri- 
tory, and the consequences which 
might ensue therefrom. As M. St 
Hilaire refused to alter his purpose, 
the Bey addressed a second letter to 



135 



M. Eoustan, as well as a circular to 
the foreign representatives, in which 
he set forth the difficulties of his 
position, and renewed his protests 
against the invasion of the Eegency. 
In order to give France immedi- 
ate proof of his ability to control 
the Hamirs, and afford any satis- 
faction which might be asked on 
account of the alleged raids, the 
Bey despatched his brother with a 
large force to the frontier; and with- 
in ten days he had received the sub- 
mission, not only of the Hamirs, 
but of all the other mountain clans. 
The French preparations, however, 
increased in magnitude; the Bey 
in alarm appealed to the Sultan, 
and on the 18th April addressed 
fresh protests to M. Eoustan. On 
the 25th April, M. St Hilaire saw 
Lord Lyons ; and the French pro- 
gramme appears to have been con- 
siderably extended since M. Ferry's 
declaration of a fortnight previous. 
M. St Hilaire then told Lord Lyons 
that "the objects of the French 
expedition were to chastise the law- 
less tribes, to insure the permanent 
establishment of order on the fron- 
tier, to settle outstanding claims, 
and to take effectual securities 
against Tunis being used by any 
foreign Power as a means of dis- 
turbing the French rule in Algeria." 
On the same day the invading 
force entered Tunisian territory. 
Five days before, M. Eoustan had 
again demanded the Bey's permis- 
sion for the French troops to land 
at Tabarca, and his Highness had 
refused to accede to the request. 
On the 26th April, Generals Forge- 
mol and Vincendon entered the 
Hamir country and attacked the 
Hamirs at Ain Ismain. At the 
same time four French ironclads 
bombarded the ancient fortress of 
Tabarca. The Tunisian officer in 
charge of the fort declined to sur- 
render it to the French of his 
own accord without the Bey's in- 



136 



Tunis, pttly 



stractions, and while lie was wait- 
ing for them he was unexpected- 
ly attacked. About fifty Tunisian 
soldiers were killed, and the officer 
managed to escape wounded to the 
shore. The French flag was at 
once hoisted on the Tabarca fort 
Although the progress of Generals 
Forgemol and Vincendon in the 
forest-covered fastnesses of the Ha- 
mf ra was necessarily slow, their de- 
lay was amply compensated for by 
great activity in other directions. 
On the 1st May the French occu- 
pied the port of Bizerta, which will 
in a few years, in all probability, 
become the most important harbour 
in the Mediterranean. Two days 
previously another force under 
General Logerot had taken Kef, 
and subsequently pushed on to 
Souk - el - Arba, a station on the 
French railway. Meanwhile the 
alarm at the Bardo palace increased 
apace. The Bey telegraphed ap- 
peals to the Powers ; these ap- 
peals were repeated even with 
greater force by the Sultan, and 
yet no sign was made. M. St 
Hilaire repeated his pacific assur- 
ances. The European colonists, 
becoming more and more uneasy, 
addressed their respective Consuls 
as to the dangers of the situation. 
On the day the French troops 
entered Kef, M. Roustan writes as 
follows to his subordinates through- 
out the Regency : " There is no 
need for alarm ; the French troops 
are only come to punish the 
Hamirs, and not to make war 
against the Bey of Tunis." The 
garrison of Bizerta was rapidly 
augmented, and in a few days 
Generals Br^t and Maurand were 
in command of 12,000 men. The 
French flag was ostentatiously dis- 
played on the citadel, the forts 
were furnished with French artil- 
lery, and the general in command 
styled himself officially " Governor 
of Bizerta." On the 5th May the 



Bey communicated a farther pro- 
test to the Powers by telegraph. 
The occupation of Bizerta had 
directed public attention in Eng- 
land and Italy still closer to the 
Tunisian question ; Lord Granville 
and Signor Cairoli received fresh. 
assurances that this step only formed 
part of the original plan of opera- 
tions against the Hamirs, and ap- 
pear to have been convinced by 
them. On the 9th May a column 
under General Breart left Bizerta, 
and having crossed the Medjeida, 
took up a position near SabaJla, 
barely ten miles from the capitaL 
The following day, however, the 
French troops marched by way of 
the Sidi Tabet estate to Djedeida, 
a station on the French railway. 
The Bey's fears greatly increased, 
and on the 11th M!ay he tele- 
graphed by way of Italy the fol- 
lowing last appeal to the Powers : — 

" To Earl Granville, London, — ^The 
advance of the French troops in this 
Regency continues. Hitherto we have 
succeeded in reassuring our subjects 
by reiterated declarations that the 
French operations would be strictly 
confined to the punishment of the 
Kroumirs. We believed that the as- 
surances given to the Powers and to 
our suzerain justified our so doing. 
Notwithstanding these protestations, 
the French camp is to-day within 17 
miles of our capital, and during their 
march the French forces approached 
it even nearer. These undeniable facts 
tend materially to lessen the effect of 
the injunctions we have given our sub- 
jects, and have even led to our own 
conduct being very seriously animad- 
verted on in our own dominions. We 
have redoubled our efforts to persuade 
our subjects to offer no resistance to 
this invasion, but our task becomes 
more difficult as a disregard of the 
assurances given becomes more appa- 
rent Is it possible for us to tell now 
long we may be able to maintain order 
among the unoffending tribes, who see 
their dwellings, herds, and crops sac- 
rificed by the march of the French 
troops ? In these circumstances, and 



1881.] Tunis. 



137 



in view of the extreme ux^ency of the 
case, we implore the British Govern- 
ment, as well as the Governments of 
the other great Powers, to take such 
measures as may at least induce the 
Government of the French Republic 
to declare its intentions in respect to 
our Regency, and make known the 
complaints which it may consider itself 
justified to prefer against us. — Mu- 
hamed-es-Sadik." 

The next morning the interpreter 
of M. Roustan brought a letter to 
the Bey, in which he stated that the 
French Government had appointed 
Greneral Br^art to tender a treaty 
for his acceptance, and that he re- 
quested the Bey to grant him an 
interview in the afternoon. He also 
asked the Bey's permission for the 
general to bring with him a detach- 
ment of troops from Djedeida. The 
Bey answexed that although he 
should be happy to receive General 
Bnkrt, he strongly deprecated any 
approach of the French troops to- 
wuds Tunis. This letter had barely 
been forwarded to Tunis, when the 
advance-guard of General Bret's 
troops was observed crossing the 
low hills in the direction of Dje- 
deida. Before noon 4000 men had 
encamped in the gardens of Man- 
ozzba, barely two miles from the 
palace. Two batteries of artillery 
were ostentatiously displayed, and 
the outposts were pushed to the 
immediate vicinity of the Bey's 
residence at Kasr-es-Said. It is 
difficult to describe the terror ex- 
cited amongst its inmates, who 
viewed the approach of the French 
from the upper windows. The 
effect of the demonstration was 
remarkable, and the Bey's advisers 
seemed at once to lose all hope. 
The attendants conversed in whis- 
pers, and at four o'clock M. Roustan 
arriTed. He was soon followed by 
General Br^art, who was accom- 
panied by twenty officers of his 
staff fully armed, and a numerous 
escort On entering the Bey's room 



he at once presented him with a 
draft treaty, which he said the 
French Government desired the 
Bey to sign that night before eight 
o'clock. The Bey asked for time, 
but General Br^art would only 
grant the extension of a single 
hour. The draft was then read 
over to the Bey, and for some time 
he declined even to consider it. He 
requested the general to inform him 
of the consequences of a refusal, 
whereupon M. Roustan answered 
that they would be of a very serious 
character. A friend of M. Roustan 
whispered them to the Bey. The 
penalty of non-compliance was to 
be the deposition of Muhamed-es- 
Sadik in favour of his younger 
brother Sidi Taib, and the condign 
punishment of the Prime Minister, 
Mustapha ben Ismail. Sidi Taib 
had lent a ready ear to the French 
proposals, and was at that moment 
waiting at the Marsa for the escort 
of French troops which was to 
convey him to the Bardo. The 
Bey then resolved to lay the matter 
before his CounciL Ten of the 
councillors were in the palace ; 
and while nine of them advised 
the Bey to yield, the tenth de- 
clared death was preferable to such 
disgrace. Even then the Bey hes- 
itated. He asked for an Arabic 
translation of the treaty, and to 
be allowed to sign under protest. 
Both requests were refused him. 
The ladies of the palace, terrified 
by the presence of the French sol- 
diers, sent frequent messages im- 
ploring him to sign. The Beys of 
Tunis invariably affix their signet 
to documents of this kind, but in 
the present instance time would not 
allow of the seal being sent for. 
At seven o'clock he signed the 
French treaty and became a vas- 
sal of France, under terms even 
more onerous than those which 
Charles Y. had imposed on his 
predecessor Mouley Hassan three 



138 



Tunis, [^^7 



centuries and a half ago. While 
General Br6art was negotiating at 
the Bardo, M. St Hilaire was even 
at the eleventh hour making the 
most pacific disclaimers in the 
French Chamhers. On the 9th 
May he had, however, issaed a re- 
markable circular which admitted 
to a certain extent the real objects 
of the Tunisian expedition, and in 
which, for the first time, he aban- 
doned the plea of Hamir punish- 
ment. It will be curious to observe 
how he can reconcile these declara- 
tions with M. Ferry's statements in 
the Chamber exactly one month 
before. In this circular M. St Hil- 
aire sets forth the various reasons 
which have induced France to have 
recourse to other means as regards 
Tunis than " la discussion loyale et 
la persuasion.'' He then proceeds 
to enumerate the dispute as to the 
Tunis and Goletta railway, the 
Italian attempt to establish a sub- 
marine cable between Tunis and 
Italy, the opposition to the French 
railway to Susa, and lastly, "la 
question du domaine de TEnfida 
qu'on essaye de ravir par des 
moyens ill^gaux h une compagnie 
Marseillaise aussi honnete que 
laborieuse." The Hamir raids are 
barely mentioned, but the real ob- 
ject of the French expedition is 
clearly revealed. 

The treaty of Kasr-Essaid con- 
tains ten articles. The French Re- 
public agrees to protect the Bey 
against alKforeign Powers, and the 
Bey consents that his interests in 
Europe shall be exclusively rep- 
resented by French diplomatists. 
The Bey yields to France the mr- 
veillance of the frontier and the 
coast, which may be carried out by 
the occupation of all places deemed 
necessary, until both Governments 
can agree as to the Bey being in 
a position to maintain tranquillity 
unaided. The Bey agrees to enter 
into no engagement of an interna- 



tional character without the consent 
of France, and renders himself re- 
sponsible for the payment of a war 
indemnity by the offending tribes. 
The Bey consents that France shall 
remodel the system under which 
the finances of the country are at 
present administered. By this 
treaty the suzerainty of the Sultan 
is set aside, and that of France sub- 
stituted in its stead ; the right to 
an occupation of any part of the 
country by France is secured \ the 
interests and treaty-rights of all 
other Powers are wholly disre- 
garded, and the finances of the 
country handed over to those very 
speculators who have provoked the 
aggression. All this has been 
achieved by a war carried on in 
defiance of every rule of the law of 
nations, but against which no Euro- 
pean Government has cared to raise 
its voice. It is in vain for the 
Bey to any longer protest. His 
old suzerain the Sultan considers 
him as a traitor, while his old allies 
the European Powers regard him 
as a French vassal. It is true that 
Lord Granville has written to M. 
St Hilaire a remonstrance which 
would have considerable effect under 
ordinary circumstances. Such, how- 
ever, has been the duplicity dis- 
played by French statesmen in the 
Tunis question, that it will proba- 
bly be received by them as the ne- 
cessary and expected consequence 
of their own conduct. The Porte 
forwarded a solemn protest to his 
European allies, but neither Lord 
Granville's letter nor the appeals of 
the Sultan have had the smallest 
effect. On the 8th June, the Bc- 
was forced by M. Eoustan to issii 
a decree nominating the Frenc 
Minister Kesident as the sole inte 
mediary for communication betwee 
the representatives of the Powe 
and the Tunisian Government; ai 
within two hours M. Roustan pp 
mulgates this decree in an arrogar 



1881.] Tunis. 

circular to his former colleagues. 
This, too, is accepted by the Gov- 
ernment which ten years ago helped 
to obtain the firman of 1871, and 
still considers Tunis an integral 
part of the Ottoman empire. Al- 
though we have had a Political 
Agent "near" the Beys of Tunis 
since 1690, Sir Charles Dilke as- 
sures the House of Commons that 
"access" to the Bey was never 
an essential part of his functions. 
England has accepted the position 
of her representative at Tunis 
being virtually accredited to the 
French Minister Eesident, and her 
colonists being practically under 
French protection. Neither Lord 
Granville nor Sir Charles Dilke can 
prevent a widespread appreciation 
of the ignominy of the situation, 
or of the humiliation England has 
suffered by the latest phase of the 
Tunisian question. It is useless to 
endeavour to shift the blame for 
what has happened to the shoulders 
of Lord Salisbury. Nobody can 
believe that the recent action of the 
French in Tunis was contemplated, 
when Lord Salisbury spoke at Ber- 
lin of the " legitimate extension of 
French interests " in that country. 
As Lord Salisbury well observed in 
the House of Lords, on the 21st 
Jane, " the Tunisian question has 
entered on a new phase. If Lord 
Salisbury had invited M. Wadding- 
ton to " take Carthage," as France 
would have us believe, there would 
have now been no necessity for the 
miserable pretexts of Hamir raids 
or frontier aggressions, or for the 
constant exercise of a duplicity in 
negotiation certainly unparalleled 
in the annals of diplomacy. 

The consequences of this war 
of twenty days are inevitable. 
Italy will never forgive what she 
considers in the light of a per- 
petual menace, and will only wait 
for the hour of vengeance. While 
the state of popular excitement pre- 



139 



vented for weeks the formation of 
a Ministry, a powerful party de- 
manded war against France at any 
price, and Garibaldi sent forth im- 
passioned appeals from Caprera, im- 
ploring Italy to insist on the res- 
toration of Tunisian independence. 
These feelings have been greatly ag- 
gravated by the recent occuiTences 
at Marseilles. Italy now seeks peace 
with all the world to punish France. 
England has, through the English 
press, unanimously condemned the 
French aggression. Her friendship 
for France has cooled, and she is 
watching for the sequel of the 
campaign with anxiety. M. Eous- 
tan has already demanded the 
arrest of the Sheikh-el-Islam, who 
is the chief civil judge at Tunis ; 
while his subordinate at Susa has 
been loaded with chains for preach- 
ing the holy war, an accusation 
which has already served the new 
Minister Eesident in good stead. 
This will within a few days lead 
to the forcible resumption of the 
Enfida, and will be in strict accord- 
ance with M. St Hilaire's pro- 
gramme. The loss of the Enfida 
to Mr Levy, and the consequent 
violation of the rights of an indi- 
vidual, will be of little importance 
in comparison with other wrongs 
we may confidently expect. When 
the most powerful arsenal in the 
Mediterranean is established at Bi- 
zerta, when English manufactured 
goods are subject to a French tar- 
ifi*, and when Malta is debarred 
from receiving supplies from Tunis, 
we shall probably regret the dis- 
dainful silence with which we re- 
ceived the thrice-repeated appeals 
for mediation from Muhamed-es- 
Sadik Bey. The importance of 
Bizerta is regarded as a harmless 
chimera by those who seek to put 
off" the evil day, when England 
must realise her loss of power in 
Europe. Admiral Spratt and Mr 
Bosworth Smith, Lord de la Warr 



140 



and Mr Guest, have placed on re- 
cord their opinions on this subject ; 
and Admiral Hobart Pasha states 
that the possession of Bizerta means 
the mastery of the Mediterranean. 
A short time will probably suffice 
to put their views to the test. 

But these consequences are of 
comparatively little importance with 
the effect this aggression has had 
on the Moslem world. The tribes 
of the interior of Tunis are in open 
revolt; this excitement is extend- 
ing itself to Tripoli and to Egypt, 
and we daily hear of massacre and 
insurrection in Algeria, where a 
total disarmament of the natives 
has been hastily resolved on. Pa- 
triotic Frenchmen do not hesitate 
to ascribe the rising of Bon Amena 
to the unprovoked attack on the 
Tunisian Regency. The Moslem 
realises the fact that the day is 
coming when he must make one 
final stand against Christian inva- 
sion, and this resistance will take 
the form of a war which will ex- 
tend from the frontiers of India to 
the shores of the Atlantic. Tunis 
contains the venerated city of Cair- 
wdn, and around that city the war- 
like tribes of the Slasi, the Hamama, 
and the Ouled Drid are assembling 



Tunis, [Jiily 

to defy the invader. These men 
regard Sultan and Bey alike as 
traitors to their faith, and they will 
fight under the fiag of the Prophet. 
Once let this spirit spread, and the 
consequences of the French Pro- 
tectorate over Tunis may exceed 
in importance anything which we 
are now able to contemplate. The 
strength of this feeling in the in- 
terior of Tunis we can personallj 
attest. In a word, the recent policy 
of France has earned for her the 
enmity of Italy, the resentment of 
England, and the antagonism of the 
Moslem world. Nowhere has this 
attempt at cheap glory been more 
ably denounced than in the French 
Chamber on the 23d of May ; and 
the congratulations of M. St Hilaire 
on the ominous silence of Prince 
Bismarck are singularly inoppor- 
tune, if not wholly premature. The 
author well observes : — 

" L'Europe va entrer k toute vapeur 
dans une mer d'iniquit^. Tout est 
dispose pour cette croisade & rebours 
de la civilisation corrompue au profit 
des juifs et des meneurs des peuples. 
Mais toutes les expeditions ne ressem- 
bleront pas 4 celle de Tunis, d^cr^t^ 
et accomplir en guise d'app&t. II y 
aura bien du sang vers<S pour de Vor." 



1881.] The Late Andrew WiUm. 141 



THE LATE ANDREW WILSON. 

AccnsTOH£D as the Magazine has alvrays been to interest itself in 
those who have identified their literary careers with its fortunes, it 
cannot pass over without an expression of feeling the death of Andrew 
Wilson, which took place at Howtoun, on Ulls water, in the Lake country, 
on the 9th of last month. It is now a quarter of a century since a little 
essay called " Wayside Songs " appeared in these columns, and raised 
hopes that the graceful mastery of prose, combined with the delicate 
appreciation of poetry of the then unknown writer, would win for his 
gifts a ready recognition in the higher circles of criticism. Andrew 
Wilson's work has justified these expectations ; and though his health 
denied him that power of unremitting application which is essential to 
the highest literary success, he has still done enough to keep his name 
green in the literary history of his generation. In his own particular 
line of travel he has hitherto been without a rival, and though his 
aims were not those of the explorer or the sportsman, personal incident 
and picturesque description are scattered so lavishly throughout his 
books, that the reader imagines himself in the company of Speke, or 
Grant, or Buxton, rather than in that of a confirmed invalid who is 
taking refuge amid the wilder beauties of nature from an oppressive sense 
of bodily infirmities 

With the exception of his work in journalism, almost the whole of 
Andrew Wilson's literary remains have been first given to the public 
in the pages of the Magazine. From his frequent absences in the East, 
in China, and India, he would return with his mind richly stored with 
impressions of travel, and, settling down in some quiet nook, would pro- 
ce^ to record them in a spirit of philosophic reflection. He wrote, as 
he travelled, in a mood of thoughtful leisure, and had no sympathy with 
the modem explorer who dashes off his diary for the book-market with 
the same haste as he had galloped across a continent. Among his earli- 
est contributions to the Magazine were papers descriptive of his travels 
and adventures among the wild tribes of the Sindh frontier and Beloo- 
chistan, a region which at that time could be traversed by the European 
only at great personal risk. His experiences as a journalist in China 
opened up to him the Further East, and on his return numerous articles 
contributed to our pages showed to what good account his opportunities 
had been turned. Among these an account of the " Inland Sea of Japan," 
and "Six Weeks in a Tower," — a graphic narrative of his residence 'among 
the Chinese in a post in the Kwei-shin district, about a hundred miles 
from Canton, where he beguiled the time in studying native manners, 
contrasting Chinese with English character, writing poetry, and recall- 
ing verses from favourite authors — attracted most notice. His Chinese 
experiences during the Taiping Eebellion mostly appeared as papers in 
the Magazine, and were subsequently republished in his successful vol- 
ume, 'The Ever- Victorious Army.' Another epoch in his travel-life 
was a summer and autumn which he spent in Switzerland later on, and 
of which he contributed an account to the Magazine in the years 1865-66. 
During his last visit to the East he undertook the adventurous Him- 
alayan journey which he has described in the * Abode of Snow,' and 
which forms his best claim to rank among accepted travellers. Prob- 



142 The Late Andrew Wilson. [July 1881. 

ably no journey of the same extent and difficulty was ever undertaken 
by one so physically unfitted to undergo severe fatigue and pri- 
vation. His spirit and endurance, stimulated by his enthusiasm for 
natural scenery, supplied the place of bodily strength, and enabled 
him to accomplish a journey of nearly five months' duration across 
passes 13,000 feet high, and .encountering ascents before which even 
Alpine Club men might have paused. The circumstances under which 
Wilson crossed the Himalaya would of themselves have made the 
journey sufficiently remarkable; but the account which he has given 
of it in the * Abode of Snow,' with its glowing pictures of the unknown 
beauties of the Himalayas, its poetical interpretation of the charms of 
the mountain landscape, its genial humour, and its endless fund of 
story and quotation, will effectually stand between it and oblivion. 
We have a pleasure in looking back to the warm reception which 
Wilson's Himalayan travels received as they appeared in our columns ; 
and he himself has put his own feelings on record. In the pre&ce to 
the * Abode of Snow,' he writes : — 

" I feel deeply indebted for its having been written at all to the en- 
couragement, consideration, and advice of Mr Blackwood, the editor of the 
famous Magazine which bears his name, and in which a great part, but not 
the whole, of this narrative originally appeared. From the outset he sym- 
pathised warmly with my plan, and throughout he never failed to cheer 
my flagging spirits with generous praise, not to speak of other encouragement. 
Then he gave me a great deal of admirable advice. There is nothing that 
is commoner in this world than advice — nothing that is showered down upon 
one with more liberal profusion ; but there is nothing rarer than judicions 
useful advice, the first condition of which is sympathetic appreciation of what 
one would be at ; and it was this invaluable kind of advice wliich Mr Black- 
wood freely tendered, pointing out where the treatment of my subject re- 
quired expansion, or aiding me by his knowledge of the world and pro- 
feundly appreciative literary taste." 

The last excursion made by Wilson was a run through the wild 
state of Kathiawar shortly before his final departure from India, a 
narrative of which appeared in the Magazine in the autumn months 
of 1876. His last contribution was written in the following spring — 
" Twenty Years of African Travel," an interesting retrospect of the dis- 
coveries made by Speke and Grant as compared with those of more 
recent explorers. 

Andrew Wilson was the founder of a school of travellers which as yet 
has had no other representative except himself. He had no thirst for 
discovery, no ambition to take rank as a sportsman, no desire to encoun- 
ter sensational dangers. His was a genial delight in natural beauty and 
grandeur, which seldom rose to feelings of sublimity, but which, never- 
theless, sank deeply, if quietly, into his nature. His well-stored mind, 
his extensive reading, and the aptness of his memory, mad a Kim 
thoroughly independent of society ; and when his attention was a 
in his wanderings, passages from his favourite authors readily croT( 
about his memory, like old friends, to aid and stimulate his en 
ment. Kever was there a more delightful guide through the jungl 
or over the mounfain-pass than Andrew Wilson ; and his name w* 
continue to suggest pleasant memories to the readers of ' Maga.' 



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BLACKWOOD'S 
EDINBURGH MAGAZINE. 



No. DCCXC. 



AUGUST 1881. 



YoL. CXXX. 



CONTENTS. 

Uncle Z, ..... . 

Hints for the Vacation Eamble. By an Old Tramp, 

Florio : A Little Tragedy, .... 

The Pbitats Secretary. — Part X., . 

The Land op Khbmi, — .... 

Part III.— Old and New. 



143 
164 
179 
184 
212 



Holidays. — Sunset on the Lomonds. By J. LooiE Eobertbon, 228 

Autobiographies, — ...... 229 

No. IV.— Edward Gibbon. 

The Meiningen Company and the London Stage, . . 248 

Besieged in the Transvaal. The Defence of Standerton. 

— Concluded, ...... 264 



EDINBUKGH; 
rrJJAM BLACKWOOD &• SONS, 45 GEORGE STREET, 
And 37 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON. 

To whom all Communicaiiotts must be addressed. 



BLACKWOOD'S 
EDINBUKGH MAGAZINE. 



No. DCCXC. 



AUGUST 1881. 



Vol. CXXX. 



UNCLE Z. 



* Well, then," I said at length, in despair, " if I cannot read a book, I will write one." 
— Preface to * Tales of a Traveller y^ hy Geoffrey Crayon^ Gent. 



CHAPTER I. THE START. 



I WAS educated at Oxford, and 
was supposed to have finished my 
academical career in the year 1825. 

I was an only son ; and my 
parents, though not very rich, 
were sufficiently so for their own 
wants and for mine. My father 
was a cultivated English gentle- 
man, hut my mother was a German. 
She had, however, lived so long in 
England, as to hecome identified 
with all our island habits and cus- 
toms ; and unless you had been told 
that she was bom a foreigner, you 
could not have detected it from her 
accent. There was one point, how- 
ever, on which she was very sensi- 
tive, and that was the rank of her 
family. She was descended from 
a noble house in Austria, and ima- 
gined — I dare say with justice — 
that she was allied to the stock of 
the illustrious Zahringens. 

But in spite of all the traditions 
with which my boyhood was en- 
circled, I must confess that I was 
brought up with very insular pre- 

VOL. CXXX. — NO. DCCXC. 



judices — was very shy amongst my 
schoolfellows about my German 
connection, and carefully evaded 
all possible reference to family 
matters. My sensitiveness on this 
point led to reserve ; and, as often 
happens, this reserve was set down 
by my equals to pride rather than 
to shyness : but perhaps there was 
really a strong spice of both ingre- 
dients in my character. In any 
case I found myself, at the conclu- 
sion of my terms at Oxford, with 
very few friends ; and my real 
attachment to my parents was 
not weakened by any overween- 
ing friendships formed with those 
amongst whom I had been brought 
up. 

My father had been a patient 
observer of the growth of all my 
peculiarities, and, being a shrewd 
judge of human nature, did not 
attempt too violently to oppose 
them. But he waited to accom- 
plish his design until I should 
have taken my Bachelor's degree. 



( 



144 



UndeZ. 



[Aog. 



I had shown no bent for any 
particular profession in life. My 
circumstances were easy, and I 
was fond of reading, but after a 
somewhat desultory fashion; and 
after a few weeks spent in the 
country with my parents, the want 
of any definite pursuit brought with 
it the accustomed weariness of idle 
spirits — and I began to think much 
of myself, and to dream of imagi- 
nary ailments with which I thought 
myself threatened. 

I have no doubt that at no other 
period of my life I was more dis- 
agreeable to other people, or a 
greater bore to my own self. And 
my father and mother sometimes 
held mysterious conclaves apart by 
themselves. 

One day my father sent for me 
to his study, and informed me of 
the result of some of the delibera- 
tions which he and she had had 
together aboat my more immediate 
future. 

He said that the time had now 
come when travel would be of 
great advantage to me — greater 
perhaps than at any other time of 
my life — and (though, of course, 
a long separation from me would 
cause them some anxiety and, he 
kindly added, some self-denial) 
still he thought it better that there 
should be no delay in my setting 
out on my journey. He wished 
me to see Florence and Rome, for 
the sake of giving me a knowledge 
of what was beautiful in art, and 
afterwards to visit Paris, where he 
had friends resident, who would 
give me introductions into the best 
French society : and this he thought 
would give me much knowledge of 
men, and of the world generally — 
in which he was pleased to say, 
rather to my annoyance, that I 
seemed to be deficient And as he 
did not wish me merely to scamper 
over the Continent, but to make 
my tour a real finish to my educa- 
tion, he desired that it should not 



be a hurried one. Eighteen months, 
or two years even, ought to be spent 
in this kind of self- improvement, 
and he hoped, by help of the letters 
with which I should be supplied, I 
might soon find some acquaintances 
to take off the sense of loneliness, 
which at first might be inevitable. 
At all events, all was new and fresh 
to me; and my stock of informa- 
tion, already not inconsiderable, 
would enable me to enter fully 
into the characteristics of all the 
different countries that I might 
visit, — and though lonely, I ought 
not to find it dulL 

He said this, and a great deal 
more, in that cultivated and easy 
manner which made advice from 
him a thing to be courted and not 
dreaded. But at the end he added 
something eke which, as will be 
seen, proved perhaps the most im- 
portant part of all his scheme. 

"But Edward," he said, "I 
should not like you to visit either 
Italy or France without having first 
gone to see one of your nearest 
relations, of whom you have often 
heard your mother speak; though 
perhaps you may have gathered 
from her description of him that 
he is not exactly the kind of per- 
son who would be a very suitable 
companion for a young man like 
you — and perhaps this conjecture 
would not be far wrong. At the 
same time, I wish you not to form 
any prejudice against your uncle. 

" Without doubt he is what is 
usually called an original person. 
And the solitary habits of his life — 
for I understand now he is a com- 
plete recluse — have very likely add- 
ed some eccentricities to a manner 
which was always a peculiar, though, 
at the same time, a distinguished 
one. Remember this, for however 
humble his present retired life and 
occupations may be, even in the 
Court of Austria he was considered 
a fine specimen of the noblesse of 
a haughty country. But, since my 



1881.] 



Unde Z. 



145 



own marriage, we have never met 3 
only, as you know, he has always 
kept up a correspondence with 
your mother, to whom he is much 
attached, as indeed she is to him. 
We gather, however, from his 
letters, that for at least the last 
fifteen years of his life he has rarely 
left an old family possession, some- 
where near the sources of the 
Danube, where the castle T^as de- 
molished long ago in the wars of 
the Peasants, and where we sup- 
pose his only residence to be one 
of the better kind of farmhouses 
in that district. I cannot say that 
I was ever there myself nor, in- 
deed, that I have much desire to 
visit him, for I am the child of 
civilisation: first, because I like 
the society of men of letters, and 
an easy access to London comforts \ 
and secondly, because I have no 
longer any relish for a journey on 
the Continent. But we suppose 
his home to be in an inland and 
romantic country, not often in- 
vaded by the traveller, but which 
would well repay you the rough 
sojourn of a few days. You will, 
however, see it, and report to us 
your impressions. And now one 
word more : Graf Eerthold is still 
a member of the Eoman Church. 
I need not caution you about your 
behaviour towards him in this re- 
spect j you will of yourself remem- 
ber not to use any disrespect to 
the forms of worship T^hich obtain 
in that country, and which, very 
likely, you would find antagonistic 
to the religious customs in which 
you yourself have been trained. 
Ilecollect that we and they alike 
express our faith in the same 



creed ; though you may be thank- 
ful for freedom from those errors 
which later ages have allowed to 
accumulate round it, £rom which 
you have been emancipated." 

It was not often that my father 
spoke as much at length on any 
subject connected with my conduct, 
or gave so much systematic advice. 
I promised obedience to all his 
counsels, and expressed gratitude 
for his kind provisions for my 
future. I felt, indeed, that both 
my parents had been acting with 
great disregard of their own feel- 
ings in arranging for me this ex- 
tended tour, and that my own 
sudden repugnance to this journey 
arose from no selfish motives, but 
from the pain inseparable to so 
long a separation from those who 
loved me thus unselfishly. 

But it was no hasty decision on 
their part. It was best for me to 
go ; and on both sides we struggled 
to suppress any outward display of 
our real feelings. And thus, a few 
days after, I left my comfortable 
English home with the many bene- 
dictions both of my father and my 
mother, with a well- filled purse, 
and with means for replenishing it 
when exhausted. A yellow post- 
chaise was at the door. The 
servants were gazing out of the 
hall window which looked on the 
approach. I shook hands with 
everybody within my reach, gave a 
parting kiss to my mother through 
the chaise door, saw the butler 
struggling to prevent my New- 
foundland dog in a frantic attempt 
to follow the carriage, which already 
was in motion, and was soon on 
the turnpike road to London. 



CHAPTER II. 



My father had sketched out the 
first part of my tour with much 
judgment and forethought — leav- 
ing a wide margin for my own dis- 



cretion, and, as usual, showing a 
desire to influence rather than 
absolutely to guide my wandering. 
Nevertheless, whenever I deviated 



146 



from the original plan, I must own 
that I had no right to think that I 
had hit upon any improvement. At 
all events, I soon leamt the wisdom 
of following the great bearings of 
the journey which he had traced. 

Accordingly, upon landing at 
Calais, I secured the best place in 
the first diligence which went to 
Lille, and wondered how it was 
possible that, cumbersome as it 
was, relays of five strong horses 
could not drag it quicker over the 
paved highway, and that so much 
time should be consumed upon a 
route which on the map seemed to 
occupy so short a distance. 

From Lille, I varied my mode of 
travelling by posting to Brussels. 
All was new to me; and though 
there was much that was monoton- 
ous in the general character of the 
scenery, yet the crossing of the 
frontier was a novel excitement, 
and I was much amused by the 
exercise of a new language, in 
which I was pleased to find that I 
could make myself readily under- 
stood, although it was some time 
before I followed easily the answers 
and remarks of those who were 
talking carelessly their everyday 
speech with what seemed to be a 
wonderful rapidity, and who, in- 
deed, sometimes only made use of 
a regular patois. But, in fact, in 
those days the change from the 
shores of England to the Continent 
was much more marked than it is 
in these days. There really was 
more difference in dress, and in 
manner, and in habits of life, which 
the vast increase in the intercourse 
has brought into a much less in- 
teresting similarity. And the var- 
iety did at first much relieve that 
feeling of loneliness which sooner 
or later fastens itself on a single 
traveller, who finds himself sud- 
denly cut off from all the habits 
and associations of his youth, and 
who has no friend except his note- 
book to whom he can impart the 



Uncle Z. [A^g- 

strangeness of his sensations, and 
no fellow-being who, by the inter- 
change of mirthful thoughts, can 
turn the most provoking incidents 
of travel into a constant source of 
present and future amusements. 
But it was not until I found myself 
in the crowded streets of Brussels 
that I felt myself thoroughly alone. 
I began to be conscious that a cer- 
tain reserve in my manner had 
made me unwilling to propose to 
share my undertaking with any of 
my acquaintances, even if I could 
not have secured the society of a 
more intimate companion. A sort 
of nostalgia was already creeping 
upon me ; and I believe that the 
long letter which I composed on 
the occasion, and which I addressed 
to my mother, was the most senti- 
mental effusion of which I had ever 
been guilty. 

I said, I remember, that I did 
not like Brussels ; and that the air 
seemed to disagree with me ; and 
that I should go on at once to Aix- 
la-Chapelle. And as nothing oc- 
curred to make me alter my resolu- 
tion, I did so at once, travelling by 
night as well as by day ; and, thanks 
to my good constitution and powers 
of sleep, finding myself, after a bath 
of the natural hot water of the city 
of Charlemagne, as fresh as, and 
perhaps fresher than, when I left 
Brussels. 

The next morning, with some 
difficulty, I secured two letters of 
my parents from the post-office, and 
read my mother's first, and my 
father's afterwards. The first told 
me much about my dog, and his 
regrets at my departure, and other 
interesting details, which I foun< 
very agreeable to myself at th 
time, but which to the reader woul 
seem intensely dull. And then 
read my father's letter, which 
should have suppressed for simils 
reasons, had it not contained soff 
counsels which indirectly have a 
effect upon my story, and wit' 



188L] 



Uncle Z. 



147 



which, in consequence, I must 
trouble those who chance to read it. 

My father said that it had oc- 
eorred to him that I should do 
well, as I was within tolerable dis- 
tance, if I should pay a visit to 
Dusseldorf, for the sake of seeing 
its gallery. He enlarged upon the 
visit paid to it by Sir Joshua Eey- 
nolds, A.D. 1781, and reminded me 
of his commentary upon some of 
the more important works in the 
collection ; his criticism on the 
famous assortment of Yanderwerf 's, 
and on the still more famous works 
of Eabens. There was one picture, 
he said, which alone might reward 
me for my trouble — that of the an- 
gels falling from heaven — of which 
Sir Joshua had pronounced deliber- 
ately, that it was one of the greatest 
efforts of genius which the art had 
produced. 

I really chiefly intended to please 
my father by following his advice ; 
but I had also an honest desire to 
obtain a well-grounded knowledge 
of the different schools of painting; 
and so, after a sojourn of two days 
at Aix-la-Chapelle (for which, by 
the way, I was well repaid), I di- 
rected my wanderings towards Dus- 
seldorf, and availed myself of the 
vehicles which in those days took 
the misnomers of schnellposts. A 
more miserable and stupid mode of 
travelling could not be conceived. 
I became more and more out of 
humour with myself and the rest of 
my species ; and one wet evening I 
found myself lumbering through the 
streets of the very useful capital of 
the Duchy of Berg, for which, how- 
ever, I then conceived, and have 
since continued to entertain, a most 
irrational dislike. 

But I said to myself, at all events 
there are the pictures. And after a 
long night's rest, and a heavy Ger- 
man breakfast, I hastened to the 
gallery to feast my eyes at leisure 
on its contents, and armed with an 
excellent note-book, to which I 



might refer in days to come for my 
first impressions. 

I had no difficulty in finding the 
building itself, nor in obtaining 
access to its spacious corridors. But 
let the reader imagine my vexation 
and despair when I found that the 
pictures from which I was to learn 
so much, and to obtain a sight of 
which I had gone through so much 
discomfort, were simply not there. 

How my father could have made 
so great a blunder I could not 
imagine at the time, though now I 
know well enough how easy it is to 
pass over the events of the last 
twenty years, and to find more 
reality in the life which preceded 
them. But so it was, as all the 
German world knew, and the town 
of Dusseldorf only too well, twenty 
years before, all the gems of the 
once famous collection had been 
purchased for Munich by Maxim- 
ilian,. King of Bavaria, though they 
were not arranged in their present 
really royal abode, the Pinakothek 
of King Lewis, until (I believe) the 
year 1836. 

And the student of art will re- 
memher that I had not the consola- 
tions which now await the traveller 
(if there are still travellers to Dus- 
seldorf), and recompense him in 
part for the loss of the works of the 
old masters. Cornelius had not yet 
founded his new school of German 
painting, which has no small merit 
of its own, though England has not 
yet produced another Sir Joshua 
Reynolds, to whose admirably ex- 
pressed criticism she might as con- 
fidently intrust the taste of her 
educated classes. 

Had I myself known as much 
about painting as my subsequent 
studies have enabled me to pick up, 
I might have solaced myself by 
getting access to the collection of 
drawings by the old masters which 
were not carried off by the Bavarian 
king. But in the haste of my 
annoyance, I quitted the gallery 



148 



with a sorfc of indignation, and re- 
solved to lose no time in leaving a 
city where I seemed to have been 
exposed to all the ignominy of a 
crael hoax. 

But everything seemed that day 
oat of gear. I took, I suppose, a 
wrong turning, for I found myself 
in the narrow streets of the Alt- 
stadt, or older portion of the 
town, and was arrested in my 
progress hy a shop of curiosities, 
which seldom fails to produce the 
same eJBTect upon me, wherever I 
may he. As I finished a survey 
which ended in a wish to inquire 
the price of a Louis XVI. clock, of 
a quaint and particular character, I 
turned suddenly round, and simul- 
taneously found myself encountered 
by a man who came out of the 
shop very hastily with a parcel 
under his arm. He was a man of 
essentially German characteristics. 
He had a restless blue eye, a face 
much overgrown with hair, was 
somewhat tall, and very meagre in 
body. This man, instantly snatch- 
ing back his covered treasure, as- 
sumed all the appearance of a per- 
son who had been wantonly as- 
sailed, and began to pour forth a 
torrent of invective in a patois 
which I could not understand, or 
very imperfectly. 

Whether, at the same moment, 
the unexpected shock aggravated 
my ill humour of the morning, or 
whether there was some natural anti- 
pathy in our two characters, which 
the circumstance of meeting so un- 
pleasantly drew out at once, I can- 
not tell. But as our gaze became 
fixed on each other, I very foolishly 
gave way to the impulse of the mo- 
ment. My countenance betrayed 
my anger, and if this had not, my 
attitude would have been sufficient 
witness to it. 

I found myself raising my cane 
to strike him, speaking French, 
which came more naturally to my 
lips than German, and which 



Unde Z. [Aug. 

seemed to chafe my opponent even 
more than my outward behaviour. 
In a few moments I found myself 
the object of an unpleasant interest 
to a gathering crowd from the dregs 
of the population of Dusseldoif ; 
and when I became conscious of 
this fact, I became aware also at 
the same time of another, namely, 
that my antagonist, who was hiss- 
ing with rage, was ill and strangely 
dressed, and not at all like the 
rest of the people who clustered 
round him. The quarrel was ridi- 
culous, and my position absurd. 
To add, moreover, to the awkward- 
ness of it, two of the town police 
were appearing at the edge of the 
crowd. So I made an eSbrt, and 
contrived to make my way into the 
shop which had contained the in- 
animate and the living curiosity, 
and the owner of the shop shut 
the door as I entered it. I im- 
mediately hastened to enlist the 
shopkeeper's sympathies, by mak- 
ing inquiries about the clock in 
his window, which I thought it 
prudent to purchase for a trifling 
sum, and which really proved to 
be what is called a bargain. I was 
promised that it should be sent, via 
Eotterdam, to an agent in London, 
whence it was to be transferred to 
my mother ; and I .beg to say that 
the promise was faithfully kept. 

The salesman indeed was a good- 
natured as well as an honest fel- 
low. He had been half amused 
and half vexed at the scene out- 
side his house. He said, the man 
who had been so angry was a 
clever man in his way, and a char- 
acter. He did not belong at all to 
that country. He lived far away 
somewhere up the Rhine, many 
days' journey from Dusseldorf. 
But he came at intervals of two or 
three years, bringing with him in- 
genious specimens of clock-work, 
which he disposed of at the vari- 
ous towns on the Rhine, and gener- 
ally travelling on one of the large 



1881.] Uncle Z. 

timber rafts' which were floated 
down the stream in the summer 
time. When he had got rid of his 
goodsy which were made by himself 
and his fiiends, he contrived to 
jonmey back to his own country 
chiefly on foot. But as he some- 
times sold a considerable amount 
of property, he caused remittances 
to he made by the bankers to 
Freiburg in the Breisgav, for he 
came from somewhere up that way. 
In consequence of these transac- 
tions, he was well known to persons 
in the trade. And his goods in 
general were cheap enough, though 
at GeneTa, Paris, and London, 
they were sometimes retailed at far 
higher prices. His angry temper 
to-day was probably owing to the 
circumstance that I had perhaps 
narrowly escaped doing an injury 
to a very complicated piece of 
mechanism, a singing bird, which 
he, the shopkeeper, could not afford 
to buy, but which was really worth 
a great deal of money. 

Meantime, as the crowd outside 
had dispersed, I prepared to make 
for my hotel. The shopkeeper, 



149 



however, insisted on walking with 
me, as he said it would be unfair 
to allow a stranger to walk through 
that part of the town alone, for my 
appearance would cause me easily 
to be remembered, and might pro- 
voke some insult Accordingly he 
did not leave me till I reached my 
destination. I thanked him much 
for his courtesy. He had given me 
some interesting information as to 
the manners and customs of the 
lower orders of the people with 
whom my lot would be often cast 
during the next few months ; and 
as we shook hands (at that time an 
unwonted cordiality on my part 
with an inferior), he advised me to 
avoid the Black Forest Man, as be 
called him, in case be again crossed 
my path, for, he added significantly, 
that he was not one who easily for- 
got an offence, and that he had 
many friends. 

Then we parted ; and as quickly 
as possible I ordered post-horses 
and a carriage, and by the promise 
of an extra trinkgelt, arrived at 
Cologne with very reasonable ra- 
pidity. 



CHAPTER III. — UP THE RHINE. 



' In KShln, a town of monks and bones, 
And pavements fang'd with murderous stones, 
And rags, and ba^s, and hideous wenches, 
I counted two-and-seventy stenches. 
All well defined and several stinks ! 
Ye Nymphs that reign o'er sewers and sinks, 
The river Rhine, it is well known, 
Doth wash your city of Cologne ; 
But tell me. Nymphs 1 what power divine 
Shall henceforth wash the river Rhine ? " 



" As I am a rhymer, 
And now at least a merry one, 

Mr Mum's Rudesheimer 

And the church of St Geryou 

Are the two things alone 

That deserve to be known 
In the body and soul stinking town of Cologne." 



It is well known that a few years 
later than the events to which my 
story refers, Mr Coleridge and Mr 
Wordsworth visited Cologne, and 
the former, to avenge himself on the 
dirt and smells of this famous city. 



left a lasting record of his disgust 
in two powerful stanzas. I could 
not have written the verses, but I 
could have borne record not only to 
their power, but to their truth, as 
far as the description of these evils 



150 



« Uncle Z. 



[Aug. 



are concerned. But I will not 
subscribe to that portion of them 
which says, that in this town of 
Cologne — 

Mr Mum's Rudesheimer 
And the church of St Goryon 
Are the two things alone 
That deserve to be known. . . . 

I remember how, for the first time, 
I learnt to appreciate the rush of 
the mighty stream itself, not then 
insulted by the present hideous 
railway bridge; and how, by fre- 
quent gazing, I learnt better to 
wonder at the vast proportions of 
the cathedral, the completion of 
which seemed at that time to have 
been abandoned in despair. 

The conception of the old archi- 
tect, six centuries before, seemed 
all too grand for the puny aim and 
feeble execution of a new and con- 
ceited age. Imperfectly as it could 
then bo judged, it was evidently 
intended to be the noblest building 
of the kind in the whole world. 

And yet, as long as that pictur- 
esque crane on the top of the half- 
finished tower was, though unused, 
suffered to remain, one seemed 
allowed to cherish a vague expecta- 
tion that so great a work of man 
would not always bear witness to 
the stinginess of modern religious 
systems, and the incapacity of what 
was called a civilised era, for any 
high conception of what was beau- 
tiful. 

But St Geryon and the cathe- 
dral were not the only objects of 
interest for me, as I threaded the 
maze of " crooked streets," over 

** Pavements fang'd with murderous 
stones." 

I was arrested by the Eomanesque 
work in several of the churches, 
which are really rich in specimens 
of architecture, such as the Church 



of the Holy Apostles, and that of 
Santa Maria in Capitolio— and per- 
haps I found even a still greater 
pleasure in tracing the fragments of 
old Eoman work, which are found 
scattered here and there over the 
ancient colony of Agrippina. 

And so I spent two or three days 
not unprofitably in this kind of 
sight -seeing, and in studying the 
habits and customs of the inhabi- 
tants themselves, — taking many 
small sketches, and now and then 
crossing the comparatively new 
bridge of boats,* and watching the 
effect of tower and pinnacle, quaint 
buildings and busy wharves, from 
the other side of the river. 

But it was time for me to be 
thinking more of Southern Ger^ 
many; and gathering information 
from the more intelligent people 
with whom I came in contact, I 
resolved to take the public convey- 
ance to Bonn, only a few hours* 
drive, and from thence to con- 
tinue my journey on horseback as 
far as Mayence, sending on my lug- 
gage by the same coach which was 
to deposit me at Bonn. This ac- 
cordingly was arranged, and I was 
content to be again stifled for a 
few hours in a German eilvcageuy 
in consideration of the prospect 
of a few days in the saddle, in 
fine weather, amidst new, pictur- 
esque, and indeed historic scenery. 
I was in high spirits then as I 
ensconced myself once more in the 
eilwageUy but confess to an unplea- 
sant sensation — a mixture of irrita- 
tion and uncomfortable foreboding 
— when I saw my Dusseldorf enemy 
deliberately climb to the top of the 
huge fabric, with a dirty pipe in 
his mouth, and a green bag in his 
right hand : and I almost think he 
must have seen me, for his coun- 
tenance wore anything but a benign 
expression during the few instants 



Built in 1822. 



1881.] 



Uncle Z. . 



151 



when I canght a glimpse of it. 
I was provoked with myself for 
caring, one way or another, about 
80 common a churl. What does it 
matter % I said to myself; and at all 
events I shall be free from him in 
a few hours, and we are not likely 
ever to meet again. 

^ow the reader must not be 
surprised at the accuracy of my 
memory. I kept a very minute 
journal whenever I was by myself. 
And even now, in my advanced 
years, that old journal -book (to 
which I have already alluded), in 
which I -dotted down so many of 
passing thoughts, so devoid of in- 
terest to any stranger, is full of 
interest to myself. Sometimes 
when I glance over the pages as I 
do now, I feel a sweet sadness, and 
sometimes a feeling of quick shame, 
at the memories stirred by the 
imperfect records. But there is 
always an interest in them for the 
writer. I became again the friend 
of my former self; and even at the 
time when I was a lonely traveller, 
I anticipated the pleasure I myself 
might derive from such manu- 
scripts, about which it is more 
than doubtful whether anybody 
else will care as much. . 

With a grateful feeling of a sud- 
den cessation from unrest, I left 
the cumbersome vehicle, and did 
not even pause to observe whether 
the man with bag and pipe de- 
scended from the roof likewise. 

I hastened to a really very tol- 
erable hotel ; and before many 
hours were over I had succeeded 
in securing two serviceable - look- 
ing horses for myself and a guide. 
The guide was not wanted so 
much for the purpose of guidance 
as for the charge of the beasts and 
of the small leather bag which was 
strapped on the one which he rode; 
and also partly, I suppose, from 
the desire of company, and of some 
one with whom I could " air " my 
German, and of whom I could ask 



questions about the numerous 
places of interest which I expected 
to be continually passing on the 
road. I am bound to say that in 
all respects Johann answered my 
purpose ; and when next day, at 
a very early hour, he brought the 
horses round to the hotel, I felt for 
the first time that feeling of adven- 
ture which is necessary to make a 
good traveller. After all, to me at 
that moment everything was de- 
lightfully fresh and strange. Every 
turn of the road or of the river 
brought with it the unexpected. 

I was in excellent health. I 
was a good horseman, and I was 
full, only too full, of confidence in 
myself. I lived altogether too 
much for myself : but at the same 
time I think I may plead here the 
disadvantages of my peculiar position 
as an only son, whose future was 
all provided for, and whose affec- 
tions were centred in a father and 
mother whose will I had never 
questioned, and whose wishes I 
was even then most exactly fulfil- 
ling. 

So forth I rode, like knight of 
old, with Johann by my side ; and 
as I look back I cannot but con- 
gratulate myself that I took this 
journey in that particular year, and 
did not defer it to some few years, 
perhaps the very next year after- 
wards. I sometimes fancy that I 
was one of the last real travellers by 
the Rhine. Little can the modern 
tourist understand of the peculiar 
interest of the noble river as I saw 
it then, as I now look back upon 
it with delight. 

Those crowded steamers, with 
their hideous funnels of black 
smoke, how they jar upon every 
feature of the castles and the 
stream 1 Those harsh grating lines 
of iron binding in on either side 
the rushing waters, and over which 
the hissing shrieking engine speeds 
with such ruthless haste ! Have 
not they, and similar parallels, 



152 



made European travel, for the most 
part, the mere restless desire to 
get from one distant point of the 
earth to another in the least possi- 
hle space of timel And in this 
particalar instance of the Ehine, 
what have they left of the many 
charms which gave zest to my less 
luxurious but very happy pilgrim- 
age, of which the remembrance 
is still a joy 1 The road was ex- 
cellent, and generally pleasantly 
shaded by well-grown orchard trees, 
and especially by the umbrageous 
walnut ; for up to the base of the 
steep hills on which the vine is so 
hardly cultivated for want of soil, 
the ground is for the most part 
extremely fertile. The scenery too 
was much varied — much more so 
than you might have imagined, 
from knowing only the views from 
the steamboat. Sometimes the 
road wound above, and sometimes 
seemed to des fiend to the very level 
of, the river ; and at each turn of it 
we hailed some new feature in the 
distance, — some castle, or some 
little ancient town with a some- 
thing left about it, which brought 
home to me, as if still present, the 
centuries which have long passed 
by ; some precious morsel of an 
old fortification, now draped with 
festoons of green vine, now picked 
out with a wealth of bright flowers ; 
then always, with every group of 
buildings, the church, whether 
large or small, generally with its 
llomanesque architectural character, 
around which all the rest seemed 
to gather, and from which every 
village seemed to take its distinc- 
tive peculiarity. 

I was also much interested in 
those floating villages — the rafts — 
which were larger in size then than 
they are at present, containing 
sometimes 500 persons, which came 
twisting round the comers of the 
stream, and which required no 
small skill to guide, and which 



Uude Z. [Aug. 

seemed to have an organisation as 
to their crews, as well as an in- 
genuity in their construction, quite 
characteristic of the great river of 
the Fatherland. If I had not been 
travelling up stream — a coarse 
contrary to the very nature of a 
Floss — I should have been tempted 
to have taken a voyage on them. 

But such reminiscences do not 
affect my story ; though I am glad 
to vindicate a noble river from the 
somewhat contemptuous descrip- 
tions bestowed upon it by modern 
Cockneys, who have themselves 
helped to vulgarise some of its 
most pleasing traits. As I felt 
then that I was in no hurry to 
leave its banks, or to hasten to the 
end of my journey ; so now, my 
memory, as I write, seems to be 
refreshed by many a half-forgotten 
incident, and to desire to linger 
even somewhat more over those 
dreams of a past intercourse with 
its pleasant scenes. 

But there is perhaps one little 
occurrence which I might mention, 
as it bears some connection with 
what is to follow. Some fifteen 
miles from Coblenz, the Rhine takes 
one of its most delightful turns at 
the small town of Boppard. Bop- 
pard boasts of a very remarkable 
church, built at the very beginning 
of the thirteenth century. Among 
many features in this church cal- 
culated to attract the notice both 
of the architect and the tourist, is 
the gallery which unites its two 
spires. I dismounted for some 
time, and studied the whole build- 
ing as well as I could, though I 
did not ascend to its higher por- 
tions. Before I resumed my jour- 
ney, I thought I would commit to 
my note- book a rough sketch to 
remind me of the unusual bridge 
in the air, to which I have alluded, 
when I saw leaning over the gal- 
lery a man's form in an unusual 
dress, both of which I at once re- 



188L] 



Unde Z. 



153 



cognised as belonging to my antag- 
onist at Dusseldorf. Annoyed, 
I knew not why, and vexed with 
myself for being annoyed, I left 
my sketch incomplete, and rode off 
somewhat hastily. 

Johann seemed to detect the 
cause of my petulance ; and his 
next observation was : " Well, I 
saw him too." 

** Whom do you mean 1 " I said, 
and Johann answered — 

" Why, that clockmaker in the 
gallery." 



" Do you know him, then ? " 
" Yes, by sight, as many of us 
do. We none of us much like to 
see him ; he is very clever, but he 
is " . . . here he paused. 

"Well, whatr' I interrupted, 
rather impatiently ; and Johann 
said, " Well, he is outlandish," and 
shrugged his shoulder. I did not 
quite know what he meant, but I 
discovered, with a sort of satisfac- 
tion, that I was not the only per- 
son who disliked Ulric the watch- 
maker. 



CHAPTER IV. — FREIBURG. 



My long ride was over. I had 
found at Mayence three letters of 
great interest for me, — one from 
my father, approving of my travels 
generally, but somewhat surprised 
by my allusions to the little con- 
fusion at Dusseldorf; the second 
£rom my mother, warning me against 
summer chills, and with details 
about my dog and horse, which 
would now prove as tedious to the 
reader as then they were a refresh- 
ment to my thoughts; and the 
third letter was of a very different 
character altogether : it was written 
on very thin paper, it was folded 
np differently from any other letter 
I had ever had before, and it bore 
a most unwonted superscription — 

"The High and Well-bom Sir, 
much honoured, &c., &c., travelling 
in Germany, and seeking letters at 
the Post-Office, Mainz." 

I at once guessed that it came from 
my uncle, and so it proved ; and he 
wrotesomewhat after this fashion : — 

" For the better assurance of my 
respectful affection for the son of 
the best of sisters, and of an highly 
honoured sire, I beg, my dear 
nephew^ to salute thee first by 



letter, though before long I hope 
to impress a kiss upon thy cheek. 
I also seek to explain the method 
of reaching my dwelling, the not- 
often-resorted-to abode by strangers. 
Thou wilt proceed by the ordinary 
stages to Mannheim. Thou wilt 
pause to admire the beauty of 
Heidelberg, and its full-of-interest 
ruin. But after that do not pause 
too much, for thou art strong, and 
canst bear to travel quickly, and 
much is to be gathered into the 
mind through the eye alone, even 
from the common conveyance 
through a new country. But be 
prudent in thy diet, for a new diet 
may try even an old stager; and 
especially do not drink freely — if 
possible, not at all — of common 
wines. After all, does not the old 
Greek say as wisely as beautifully, 
' Water is the best thing ' ? At all 
events, push on briskly to Freiburg, 
the beautiful home of thy maternal 
ancestry: there shall two of my 
servants meet thee, and be thy 
guide to my Forest Home. Much 
do I yearn to see thy mother's son. 
May God shield him from all harm, 
but, above all, make and keep him 
wise. And does not the wisdom 
of the young grow best by travels 1 
What says the Son of Sirach in thy 



154 



English Bible? ' When I trayelled 
I saw many things, and saw more 
than I am able to express.' Far 
truer this translation than the ver- 
sion of that Luther, far nearer both 
to the Septuagint and to the ortho- 
dox Bible. I confess that I study 
much the Scriptures. Dost thou 
study them ? Without them thou 
canst not be learned ; and the Eng- 
lish translation is confessedly a 
great work. For a while, then, 
farewell. Thy much loving uncle, 

" Z." 

The contents of this unusual letter 
astonished me, I believe, even more 
than the outside endorsement. I 
knew nothing of my relative, ex- 
cept that which I had been told 
of him by my mother, and she had 
invested his character with a sort 
of reverential mystery, which, when 
I was child, seemed to represent 
him as a being quite apart from 
and quite unlike other men. As I 
thought of the old heroes of Israel, 
so I had framed his picture in my 
mind. I had a sort of awe of him, 
mingled in old days with a great 
deal of curiosity. But I should as 
soon have thought of having a love 
for him, as of having an affectionate 
regard for the Grand Lama. 

And yet now, as I look at his 
first letter to me — for I have still 
preserved it as a relic — the sight of 
the elaborate penmanship on the 
paper yellow with age brings mois- 
ture to my eyes. What a kindly 
heart ! What a liberal hand ! 
What a high-born culture of mind, 
which seemed to take a shape even 
in his very gestures ! But, above 
all, what a good and holy man ! 
Singular as a recluse, but learned 
as a Benedictine monk ! uncle 
Z.! I have never seen thine equal 
in the worldly world, with which 
I have been mixed up since. 

One portion of his letter put me 
to some confusion of thought — I 



Unde Z. [Aug. 

did not recognise his quotation. 
As a child I had carefully read 
through the Bible with my mother 
— ^mothers in those days, I think, 
were more personally sedulous in 
the religious education of their 
children than they are at present — 
and whatever had been my faults, 
I had kept up my acquaintance 
with the contents of the holy 
Book. Yet I could not recall the 
particular passage. I had my own 
Bible — the precious gift of my 
mother — carefully stowed away in 
my portmanteau, and from time to 
time I really searched for the pas- 
sage cited, but I could not find it. 
Some years afterwards, looking into 
an old copy of the Scriptures which 
I saw on the shelves of a weU-filled 
library at home, I found the verse 
in Ecclesiasticus, and felt a feeling of 
shame at my ignorance of the whole 
book of the " wise son of Sirach," so 
wantonly omitted from many mod- 
ern editions of the Bible. And 
thus far I trust that I have atoned 
for my shortcomings, that I may 
now say that I am familiar with 
the whole, and never have since 
purchased a Bible for hall or cot- 
tage without first ascertaining that 
it contains the books which are so 
invaluable fof example of life and 
instruction of manners, and which, 
at least, form the beautiful border- 
land of the inspired writings. May 
the reader forgive the digression. 

And so it was, in bright sunny 
weather, as I can well remember, 
that I found myself pursuing the 
route which my as yet unknown 
uncle had marked out for me. 
Sometimes in one sort of convey- 
ance, sometimes in another; for I 
was young and strong, and hardly 
observed the difference of one from 
the other, except by this, that the 
variety was pleasing to me. Then 
at last I entered the territory of the 
Duchy of Baden, and, almost un- 
awares to myself, was skirting the 



1881.] 



Unde Z. 



156 



borders of the Black Forest. Bat 
very little did it there deserve its 
name. 

I was myself on a long rich tract 
of land betwixt a high range of 
hills and the Ehine. These hills 
were in reality much higher than I 
shonld have supposed them to be. 
Id fact, they were often mountains, 
though they appeared like hills. 
But the plain itself, somewhat 
monotonous from its uniformity, 
varied from four or five to some 
twenty miles in breadth, though 
the eye hardly detected any dimin- 
ution or increase of the extent on 
the right hand. All was fertile, 
all was cultivated. Hemp, pota- 
toes, flax, fruit trees, vegetables, 
besides the usual crops of grain, 
succeeded one another in unfailing 
variety. In vain, century after 
century, had man's folly and wick- 
edness laid waste this garden of 
Europe. Generations perished, but 
the earth only gathered fresh riches 
from the decay of former ages, and, 
always grateful to the hand of in- 
dustry, hastened to repay the re- 
newed toil of each succeeding race. 
As I journeyed onward, I began to 
take more interest in the forest 
scenery, which formed the contin- 
ual boundary of the landscape on 
the left. I began to wonder where 
I should be permitted to thread the 
tempting openings of the valleys 
which from time to time seemed to 
expand as if to give vent to streams, 
which rushed down them and gave 
fertility to the plain I traversed, 
before they themselves were swal- 
lowed up by the mighty river from 
the distant and giant Alps. So, I 
can now reflect, it is pleasant, after 
the wild cheerfulness of youth, to 
be able to do some works of distinct 
usefulness to our fellow-creatures, 
before our brief courses of time are 
swallowed in the onward sweep of 
the eternal ages. But let me be as 
impatient as I choose, Freiburg was 



my inevitable destination, and the 
valley of the Dreisam was the first 
inlet of which I could avail myself. 
Certainly it was no small satisfac- 
tion to me when I drew near to it. 
If, in these days, it is a gratification 
to step out of an express train near 
the same spot after a whole day's 
journey in it at an average speed of 
thirty miles an hour, let the reader 
imagine what it must have been to 
have alighted after days and per- 
haps nights of the same journey 
over a roughly paved road at an 
average speed of five or six. 

In my case, the last conveyance 
set me down at an old-fashioned 
inn called "The Angel," which 1 
found to be a good specimen of its 
class, and which, facing down a 
narrow street which crossed the one 
in which " The Angel" was situate at 
right angles, gave me my first view 
of the finest piece of Gothic archi- 
tecture I had ever seen : indeed, 
after all my superadded acquaint- 
ance with architectural buildings, 
and my increase of knowledge on 
such subjects, I do not think I 
have seen that structure surpassed. 
The spire of the Cathedral rose at 
the end of the vista 385 feet from 
the ground. I stood for some 
minutes wrapt in my admiration of 
it, and turned round to the old inn 
behind me. The landlord was 
bowing down before me with al- 
most obsequious courtesy, and be- 
hind him stood three other men, 
who seemed equally pleased at my 
arrival. 

If the unexpected view of the 
spire had taken me by surprise, I 
found this reception equally a mat- 
ter of astonishment. The conduct 
of my landlord harmonised with 
his appearance and with his busi- 
ness. But these three others were 
in keeping with nothing that I had 
seen before, or was expecting then. 
Their very dress was most peculiar, 
for they wore long dark-brown coats 



156 



reaching below the knees," fringed 
and lined with red ; the waistcoats 
and the breeches were of the same 
colour, but the former had double 
rows of bright yellow buttons, neck 
handkerchiefs of bright gay colours 
intermingled, and dark soft - felt 
hats, with bands of red, completed 
their costume ; * and yet they had 
no air of being liveried servants. 
One of them, however, came for- 
ward; and though I understood 
his speech — ^which was exceedingly 
harsh and unmusical — very imper- 
fectly, I gathered from it that they 
had arrived the day before from 
the hill country where my uncle 
dwelt, that two of them indeed 
were his dependents, and that the 
other had charge of the horses 
which we were to ride through the 
forest — not that we were to start 
immediately, as the Count (so they 
called him) had said that his 
nephew would wish to see first 
the city of his forefathers, and the 
world-famous church which their 
great ancestor had built. 

My wonder increased the more 
I studied their appearance, and the 
better I began to comprehend what 
they said. Was I really travelling 
in modern Europe 1 Was I dream- 
ing] or was I becoming the hero of 
a romance 1 A certain sense of the 
ludicrous side of my position here 
overtook me, and I very nearly 
burst out laughing. But I restrain- 
ed myself, and yet kept silence. 
The second man in costume then 
said that perhaps I did not under- 
stand their German, and yet the 
Count had said that he thought I 
sliould be able to do so. For their 
own part, they did not understand 
French. Upon this the landlord 
then attempted to give a transla- 
tion of their speech. But his accent 



Uncle Z. [^^' 

seemed so grotesque, and his idiom so 
very German, that again my gravity 
nearly forsook me. The situation, 
however, was becoming embarras- 
sing as well as comical, so I rallied 
my powers, and collecting all the 
German that I possessed, made an 
answer to the effect that I was much 
gratified by this proof of my uncle's 
affection for me, and that I should 
certainly follow his injunctions ; 
and that after I had inspected this 
ancient home of my forefathers, I 
should be ready to follow their 
kind guidance to the modem abode 
of their much esteemed descendant. 
These few words were received with 
much attention and apparent appro- 
bation. And after that it was ar- 
ranged that first of all I should be 
refreshed by my host with some 
necessary food, to be specially pre- 
pared for me, as it was now 2 p.m., 
and the mid-day meal (happily for 
me) was well over; then that I 
should devote myself to sight-see- 
ing as long as the summer light 
lasted, and that, as early as they 
pleased the next day, I should ac- 
company them on the proposed 
journey. After the repast one of 
my new retinue (for such they 
seemed to be), and I may as well 
confess at once that such an ad- 
dition to my importance was not 
very wholesome for one who had 
already such very high notions of 
my own importance in the social 
scale — but there they were — and 
one of them again stepped forward 
and said that the Count was anxious 
that I should not fail to see the 
monument erected by the town of 
Freiburg to the memory of my 
ancestors, and so I gladly followed 
his leading, through deliciously 
watered streets to a modern foun- 
tain,t erected really to the honour 



* This dress, as I learnt afterwards, was really a national costume peculiar to a 
certain district of the forest, and not v.bolly fallen into desuetude at the present day. 
t Erected 1807. 



1881.] Unde Z. 

of thd late Duke of Baden, but 
which recorded at the same time 
Berthold III. of the Zahringens, the 
real fouader of the city in 1120, 
and his brother Conrad, who is 
said to have founded the cathe- 
dral three years later. It was a 
long while ago, certainly, and to 
share such ancestors with a Duke 
of Baden seemed to cover me with 
a reflection of their glory. Though 
I might have felt humbled by the 
X>arallel thought, which neverthe- 
less does in fact occur to few — viz., 
how very little I had done myself, 
or was ever likely to do, in imita- 
tion of their noble actions, to prove 
my kinsmanship with the illustrious 
dead. But no : on the contrary, 
all that happened to me at this 
time only added to my love of my- 
self, and to my well satisfied esti- 
mate of my own position and con- 
duet. I at once asked to be shown 
the way to that beautiful monu- 
ment of the piety of Conrad of the 
Zahringens, which, in the complete- 
ness of its work, still continued to 
carry off the palm of beauty from 
all similar structures in Germany. 

I found indeed but little to dis- 
appoint me ; and rich and wai'm 
were the tints of red and grey with 
which the hands of the great build- 
ing painter. Time, had embellished 
the noble and chaste details of the 
holy pile ; and the general propor- 
tions of the whole fabric were not 
frittered away by any extravagance 
of ornament. 

I shall, however, for the details, 
refer the reader to some book on 
architecture. Nevertheless, let him, 
if he can, visit the building itself, 
which has, I am told, since my day 
heen carefully restored, and he 
will find it best to say but little, 
where it is not difficult to say too 
much. 

At length I found myself again 
standing in the porch and examin- 
ing the charming entrance. On 



157 



either side there are sculptures ; 
and I was looking on those at the 
left hand side, and endeavouring to 
discover their meaning, when I 
heard a harsh voice behind me, 
saying, "Fiinfe unter ihnen waren 
thoricht," in English " Five of them 
were foolish," and then, of course, 
I at once recognised the treatment 
of the parable ; and often after- 
wards, on reflection, I have thought 
how appropriate such a subject was 
to be the last consideration before 
entrance into a house of prayer. 
The propriety of it did really flash 
across my mind even then ; but all 
farther good thoughts or prolonged 
meditation were quickly arrested, 
as I turned round, and discerned in 
the speaker the object of my newly 
formed antipathy. 

I started back as if I had seen a 
snake in the porch, and I suspect 
my features betrayed the scornful 
dislike which I really entertained 
in my heart. I went back straight 
to " The Angel ; " but as I walked 
down the narrow street I heard a 
man whistling, and as I remember, 
whistling very well, Kdrner's * Song 
of the Sword ; ' but I did not con- 
descend to turn round, though I 
felt persuaded that it was intended 
to be a fresh insult from my Dussel- 
dorf enemy. 

I amused myself in the evening 
with preparations for my journey 
on the morrow, and found ready 
aid from one of my companions, 
Fritz, who seemed more especially 
devoted to my personal service. I 
was pleased to find that my uncle 
had sent his own horse for me for 
the forest ride, and that though a 
somewhat old campaigner, it was 
a very serviceable animal. Fritz 
also joined my evening stroll round 
the outskirts of the town. But I 
retired early to my bed, for we had 
agreed to start soon after sunrise 
on the morrow, and I was very 
glad of repose. 



158 



Unde Z. 



[Aug. 



CHAPTER V. IN THE FOREST. 



We presented a very respectable 
cavalcade on that early start the 
next morning. I fancy I can see 
it now before my eyes as we left 
the narrow street in which "The 
Angel" was situated. I bestrode 
Count L.*s horse, which, though 
ill- groomed, as it seemed to my 
English fastidiousness, proved, as 
I expected, an excellent roadster. 
The horse which the first attendant 
bestrode seemed also useful, but was 
less respectable in appearance. A 
sensible looking mule was laden 
with our luggage, and was accom- 
panied by one man on foot, and 
followed by another mule which 
was ridden by a youth, who from 
time to time had to relieve guard 
at the side of the sump ter -mule, 
whilst the older man, who really 
served as the guide of the expe- 
dition, rested by bestriding the 
other beast, which always much 
resented the exchange. So we were 
a party of four. 

The weather seemed to promise 
a delightful day, and indeed at 
that hour of the fresh morning was 
really delicious. Nevertheless my 
landlord, I remember, though he 
did not contradict my praise of it, 
gave a somewhat ominous shrug 
with his shoulder, and repeated 
a country rhyme to the effect that 
not always a fine dawning can be 
trusted to proclaim a cloudless eve, 
and then we went gaily on through 
the town, passed under the old 
gateway covered with ambitious 
frescos, and soon found ourselves 
following pretty steadily the course 
of the Dreisam, and making our 
way through the broad valley which 
it enriches and refreshes. The pine- 
clad hills bounded the view on all 
sides, but at the first at a respect- 
able distance. 

When the novelty of the scene 



began to wear away, I had time to 
reflect that our journey could not 
be very rapid, though the guide 
seemed possessed of the Beyen- 
leagued boots of the fairy story, 
and the mule kept good pace 
with his strides ; still our progress 
must be limited by his powers, and 
I knew that the day's march would 
be a fatiguing one. I beckoned, 
therefore, to my fellow horseman 
to ride alongside of me, and asked 
if it was necessary to sleep on the 
road. 

He laughed, and said — "Surely 
we could not hope to reach Freiburg 
until late on the following after- 
noon." 

"And my uncle's house. Does 
he keep a large establishment ? " 

" Count Z.'s house is not large ; 
but it is large enough, for he does 
not keep many servants." 

" Are there any gentry living in 
the neighbourhood with whom lie 
can associate 1 " 

"There are none who approach 
his position ; but if there were, I 
think he would seldom see them." 

"Why so?" 

" Because I think he likes to be 
alone." 

" But he goes out, — he occupies 
himself every day % " 

" Yes, every day he goes out." 

"Does he shoot game? Has he 
any rights of shooting % " 

" He used to shoot the food for 
his own table. He had a special 
licence from the Grand Duke, who, 
they say, knew him well in earlier 
life. But of late years he goes t 
the chase more rarely; — indeec 
now, he very seldom carries hi 
gun." 

" What, then, is his chief occi 
pation ? " 

"Oh, he reads — reads, they saj 
wonderfully ; and he plays the oi 



1881.] 



Uncle Z, 



159 



gan, I know, divinely. I have 
often listened without and heard 
him." 

" But when he leaves his house, 
has he no object for his walks and 
drives ] " 

''He yisits the sick; he gives 
them medicines; he takes them 
food ; he encourages them ; he will 
travel miles to give comfort to the 
distressed. Yes ; there is none 
like him in the Forest. All hail 
his approach; all reverence his 
wishes; and all love him." 

"And are not at all afraid of 
him 1 " I rejoined ; for I began to 
feel a mysterious awe at becoming 
the guest of such a relative. 

The man replied in a somewhat 
hashed voice — " Yes, they are 
afraid of him;" but added, evi- 
dently deairous of avoiding further 
cross-examination, '' I hardly like 
the look of yonder cloud over that 
gap in the hills." The weather had 
in fact become exceedingly sultry, 
and there was a great heaviness in 
the atmosphere. 

" We should do wisely," I cried, 
" to get on a little faster. I shall 
be glad to leave this hot valley. 
Long before this I had expected to 
have reached the mountains." 

"You will not have long to 
wait," he answered. " You see 
that tower not a quarter of a mile 
off; there we turn to the right, and 
presently the gorge through which 
we ascend will reveal itself. But 
if you, sir, like to press on a little, 
I will go back and tell them to hurry 
on the mule." 

Accordingly he turned his horse's 
head in an opposite direction, whilst 
I orged mine in the direction of the 
tower. After reaching it, I duly 
turned to the right, and at once 
perceived a change in the scene. 
I had gained some elevation over 
the valley, of which I now obtained 
a striking view ; and the foreground 
had become suddenly more rich and 

VOL. cxxx. — NO. Dccxa 



varied, and abounded in orchards. 
The natives, I learnt, called this 
tract Himmel - reich (" Heaven's 
Kingdom"), from the contrast which 
it affords to the neighbouring gorge, 
which obtains, undeservedly enough, 
a much darker name. Presently I 
saw the outlet of the narrow val- 
ley through which I was to enter 
upon the mountainous part of my 
journey. 

The arm of the river Dreisam, 
if indeed it was not the main stream, 
here assumed more and more of the 
wild nature of the torrent, and was 
struggling among rocks covered with 
forest trees : such scenery was alto- 
gether new to me. I enjoyed it all 
the more for the absence of my com- 
panions ; but I was really less alone 
than I thought I was. 1 discovered 
this by following a little way a 
tempting, well-trodden path, which 
deviated from the high road, and 
which brought me quickly to a sight 
for which I was not at all prepared. 

Just a little shrouded from the 
gaze of the curious passers-by was a 
rock which rose out of a small level 
space in front of it, and which had a 
dark background of pines. Upon this 
rock was a crucifix, with the Christ 
somewhat rudely carved, somewhat 
roughly coloured, but which had a 
solemn and devotional character, 
which somehow or other harmon- 
ised fitly with its surroundings. 

At the foot of the cross a tra- 
veller had laid down a well-worn 
knapsack, and was kneeling in 
prayer. T was moved by the 
earnestness of his manner, whilst 
at the same time I was struck by 
the perfect arrangement of the 
unexpected scene. I stayed my 
horse's footsteps for fear of disturb- 
ing the suppliant, and, as one who 
feels himself an intruder, turned 
the bridle towards the road which 
I had left. A chastened and reve- 
rent feeling seemed to steal over 
me, but unhappily it was very 

L 



160 



transient, for before I could regain 
the highway, near as it was, an- 
other little footpath became appar 
rent among the trees, and issuing 
out of the shade appeared a figure 
which I had already learnt to re- 
cognise but too easily, and again 
TJlric the watchmaker literally 
crossed my path, with quick step, 
and a low, accurate, but to me 
disagreeable whistle. My religious 
feeling was soon gone, and was 
succeeded by a very different one. 
There seemed a fate connected with 
him. Already he seemed to ex- 
ercise that sort of pernicious influ- 
ence over me, such as I had read 
was thought to be exercised over 
the Italian mind by the Evil eye. 
I could not certainly suppose that 
he had done much injury to my 
body. But was it not strange?— 
was it not passing strange? — that, 
short as had been my term of resi- 
dence on the Continent, this one 
man should have appeared sudden- 
ly before me so often, and always 
with a bad effect ; and yonder he 
trudges with a light step up the 
very entrance of the ravine which 
we too are to ascend. If he is 
going in the same direction, we 
shall pass him again and again, 
and it will be a continual annoy- 
ance. I must make further in- 
quiries about him. 

Thus musing and muttering to 
myself, I pulled up my horse, for 
the rest of the party were already 
close upon me; and all together 
we soon halted at a roadside inn, 
which, rude enough, had a charm- 
ing situation near the waters of the 
stream, refreshing both to the eye 
and ear, where our animals obtained 
the nourishment to which they were 
accustomed, and where I added to 
the food provided for myself and 
my comrades some excellent, but 
not very cheap, draughts of a Bava- 
rian beer. 

It was not a very long bait, and 



Uncle Z. [Aug. 

was perhaps made all the sborter 
owing to an ominous growl of dis- 
tant thunder which warned us that 
we were not safe from a storm. 
The weather was more sultry now 
we were fairly in the closed valley, 
which narrowed as we went on, 
and which presently led ns to one 
of the most beautiful spots in the 
fair country of the Grand Duke. 

Greater heights and grander pre- 
cipices may be seen elsewhere ; but 
nowhere have I seen a more agree- 
able combination of rock and vege- 
tation. I wondered how the hud 
stone could support such a variety 
of tree life so closely brought to- 
gether. Oak and ash, birch and 
hazel, and many other deciduous 
trees, seemed here to keep back the 
pine which flourished in the dis- 
tance ; and the waters of the river, 
evidently now held in very mode- 
rate compass, dashed by, and kept 
alive a delicious carpet of verdure, 
shaded by ferns and wild-flowers 
of all descriptions. Summer suns 
seemed to have no power to dry 
up, but only to bring to ripeness 
and beauty, this charming garden of 
the Black Forest ; for we may be 
considered to have fairly entered it 
when we thread the gully which at 
its narrowest part bears the name 
of " The Stag's Leap." It owes its 
name to a tradition that a stag, 
hotly pursued by hunters, as a last 
effort actually cleared the space 
which divided an isolated rock from 
the corresponding eminence on the 
other side of the road. Perhaps 
part of that rock may in course of 
time have become separated from 
the main bulk, but certainly the 
leap seemed to me so prodigious a 
to be almost beyond the bounds c 
credulity. 

I amuse myself, from my note 
and sketches, at looking back o: 
such scenes with the eyes of med' 
tation ; and though they may seei 
to bear but little on my story, a] 



1881.] Uncle Z. 

sucb touches recalled to memory 
seem to make its tale more entirely 
my own. 

As we left the scene of the per- 
formance of this wonderful sta^;, 
the road clunj; to the torrent's 
coarse with something approaching 
to a level ; but its gradual rise was 
soon perceptihley and by degrees 
we left the chafing waters below us, 
and gradually began what I con- 
sider to have been my first moun- 
tain climb. Soon, at a little dis- 
tance in front, I descried, as I had 
anticipated, the form of the watch- 
maker, wending his way onward 
with even and unwearied step, 
which was, in fact, a more rapid 
one than that of our little group, 
so that, allowing for the haltiugs of 
our man on foot, we seemed to ob- 
serve a tolerably equal interval of 
space from one another. But there 
he was, frequently in view, and as 
frequently attracting my particular 
attention from the pleasant scene 
around me. At length, when the 
man Fritz, with whom I had my 
former conversation about my un- 
cle, was pretty well alongside of 
me, I gave further vent to my 
curiosity. 

"Fritz," I said, "that man in 
front seems bent on the same track 
as we are ; do you happen to know 
who he isl'* 

" Js, mein Herr," was the first, 
and I must say the usual, laconic 
reply. 

"Does he live at all near my 
uncle's residence ) " 

** Yes ; surely not far. He comes 
from the common which U over the 
village of Nutbrook." 

" I saw him before,*' I said, " on 
the other side of the Ehine, and I was 
told that he was a watchmaker." 

"Yes; he is TJlric, the watch- 
maker." 

" la he well known *? " 

"Yes; he is very clever at his 
trade." 



161 



"And at other things?" 

"Yes; and in other waj's like- 
wise," replied Fritz. 

" Are there many watchmakers 
at Freiburg 1" I asked. 

My companion laughed merrily, 
and said "yes" so many timep, 
and so quickly, that his favourite 
monosyllable seemed spun out into 
a regular sentence. 

"We are all clockmakers there," 
was the answer. 

" All clockmakers !" I exclaimed. 
" What an extraordinary place ! and 
what a strange occupation for the 
inhabitants of a forest ! I never 
heard before that Freiburg was so 
celebrated for a useful art ; but then, 
had it not been for my uncle, I 
never perhaps should have heard 
of it at all. What pale can they 
have for their clocks 1 " 

" Ah ! " said Fritz, " Geneva and 
other places get the credit. But if 
ever we had proper roads, so as to 
make our forest towns and villages 
accessible to the rest of Furope, 
perhaps we should do business for 
our own advantage, rather than 
for the purses of the Swiss." 

Fritz was an intelligent fellow. 
So I thought I would try him 
further. 

" Why do you complain of your 
roads 1" I said. " This one, surely, 
if not like our best English roads, is 
well engineered, though somewhat 
roughly kept." 

" But then," he answered, " this 
road has a story attached to it, and 
a sad story, I think, for this was 
the road which was made by the 
Austrians, when they brought the 
fair Marie Antoinette to queen it 
in the most brilliant Court of Eu- 
rope, but which proved rather the 
shambles, where all the beautiful 
and noble in France were murdered 
pitilepsly." 

"Yes; we have read — we have 
heard of it. I never tread the way 
without thinking of the lovely 



162 



Uncle Z, 



[Aug. 



young lady, and of the bloody 
tragedy." 

I remember my passing tbonghts 
were, should I, if I travelled in 
England, meet with many of my 
countrymen, of the same class who 
not only would know so much of 
modern history, but would enter 
into it so feelingly. But in those 
days there were many living who 
had been eyewitnesses of the scenes 
to which he alluded ; though great 
events followed so rapidly after- 
wards, that the space which separ- 
ated us from them seemed greater 
than it really was. 

At this moment, at the end of 
the still ascending road, clear against 
the sky-line, and through a sort of 
avenue of pine, I aprain detected 
the singular form of Ulric, looking 
taller than his wont, as figures so 
seen generally do. 

"But that man yonder," I said, 
" does he know my uncle 1 " 

"He often sees him — often is 
sent for by him." 

" Indeed ! and my uncle likes 
him]" 

" We suppose so." 

"And why 1" 

Fritz answered with a somewhat 
shrewd observation, — " People like 
those whom they benefit." 

"And my uncle is his benefac- 
tor!" 

"Ohi for that, Count Z. is a 
benefactor to all ; but Ulric is much 
devoted to him : and they say, 
when he began his trade the Count 
did him much good." 

" But Count Z. cannot always be 
wanting to have his clocks re- 
paired," I rejoined with petulance ; 
for I felt piqued that such a fellow 
as TJlric appeared to be should in 
any sense be connected with my 
uncle's household. " Why should 
he be often at his house ? " 

" He goes also to the Tower for 
other reasons ; for example, he un- 
derstands the organ, he can tune it 



— nay, sometimes the Count likes to 
hear him play." 

"Is the Count so very musical 
then 1 " I said, never having heard 
of any special musical gift in the 
family, and feeling that I myself 
knew nothing about music : though 
I really was able to distinguish 
good playing from bad playing — 
little as I had heard hitherto ex- 
cept my mother's delicate perfor- 
mance on a piano, which my father, 
I had always perceived, tolerated 
rather than enjoyed. 

" The Count is the best musician 
of our neighbourhood," returned 
my companion, somewhat fiercely. 
" When he plays the organ of an 
evening, many draw as near to the 
Tower as they can, and listen even 
when the snow is on the ground. 
It is like a charm." 

"Why do you speak of Count 
Z.'s house as a tower % Surely he 
does not live in a tower?" I felt, 
after our bright English home, that 
such a residence might prove rather 
a gloomy one. 

" There is a new house attached 
to the old Tower, but it is not very 
like other houses. You, sir, must 
see it for yourself." 

And then again, suddenly — as if 
for a second time he hardly liked 
my cross-examination — he stopped 
our conversation by saying that he 
must go back and urge the youngster 
who had charge of the luggage not 
to linger, as we should hardly reach 
the top of the pass before the storm ; 
and another growl from the dark 
thundercloud seemed to justify his 
precaution. 

Again I was left alone. I have 
heard that the road by which 
modem travellers ascend this pass 
is very different from that by which 
I then mounted it In one char- 
acteristic of the Black Forest I 
know that its appearance must 
have changed considerably, for at 
that time the real Forest scenery 



1881.] Uade Z. 



163 



was much more uDivereally spread 
over the mountains than it is in 
these days, when every year adds 
to the extent of the clearings, and 
diminishes the number of the pines. 
I was then fairly in the forest, and 
sometimes the view was much con- 
fined. But gradually we had ad- 
vanced to an unusual height for 
me, who had never scaled to the 
top of a Malvern hill, and I was 
more and more interested in the 
novelty of the whole scene. The 
weather was, as I have said, ex- 
ceedingly close, and so I did not 
feel all the invigorating effect of 
the rarefied atmosphere ; but I was 
conscious of a very great difference 
in the temperature during the last 
hour. I Idoked down glades which 
I fancied of a prodigious depth. 
I heard the far-off roaring of fall- 
ing water with surprising clearness, 
for all nature seemed hushed as 
before a coming storm. I became 
also folly sensible for the first time 
of the aromatic scent of the pine — 
a delicious odour, which was on 
that day and afterwards one of my 
principal enjoyments of the resi- 
dence amongst the trees. And 
that afternoon, I remember, it was 
particularly delightful. 

Suddenly I found that I had no 
higher ground to ascend. Turning 
round a huge lump of moss-covered 
rock, a new valley burst upon my 
view. On the right, a long narrow 
lake, dark and still under the sum- 
mer cloud, seemed a few hundred 
feet below me. On the other side 
of it the precipices were so steep, 



that one wondered how those stately 
pines found room to grow — as they 
evidently did, and majestically — up 
to the top of a much higher acclivity 
than that on which T was placed. 
Straight before me was a long road 
winding hither and thither, and 
gradually losing itself in a ravine 
exactly opposite, following the 
course of a bold little river, which 
I fancied must issue from the lake, 
and of which the waters sooner or 
later, I justly supposed, found their 
way into the great Danube, for I 
was travelling in a direction decid- 
edly eastward. 

If the mountains had been more 
varied in size and shape, the scene 
would have been perfect. On the 
immediate left, about two hundred 
feet below us, appeared a few cot- 
tages, one of which, far larger than 
the rest, was apparently our halting- 
place for the night. I confess, rude 
and rough as it probably was, I re- 
joiced to think it was so near. Al- 
ready some heavy drops had begun 
to fall, and I urged my horse on to 
avoid a wetting. 

I was just in time myself. 
Though my rear -guard came up 
after me, mule and all, with accele- 
rated speed, all looked damp and 
draggled when they reached their 
goal ; and our landlord was al- 
ready busied in thrusting fresh 
pine-logs on the stove fire. And 
I, having given a glance at the 
stabling of my horse, was delight- 
ing in an entirely new phase of 
life and manners. Indeed it will 
deserve some special consideration. 



(To he continved.) 



164 



Hints for the Vacation Ramlle. 



[Aug. 



HINTS FOR THE VACATION RAMBLE. 



BY AN OLD TRAMP. 



TuERB is no design on this occa- 
sion to occupy the throne and ex- 
ercise the prerogatives wielded by 
Jahn and Meyer for their seyend 
departments of Deutschland, and by 
our own Murray for half the world. 
It is the prerogative of the guide- 
book that it dictates to its passive 
subject the tourist with an abso- 
lute despotism. It would be at 
once indecorous and ungrateful to 
question the authority of these 
guides, philosophers, and friends, 
when we reflect on their heavy re- 
sponsibilities, and the mighty ser- 
vices they have rendered to a help- 
less and confiding class of beings, 
by marshalling the way that they 
should go. There is no intention 
of here disputing their dominion. 
Perhaps, on the other hand, a hint 
or two, to be distinguished by ad- 
mission into their potent code of in- 
struction, may be gathered from the 
following pottering details hoard- 
ed in the experiences of one who 
can look back on generations that 
have come and gone since he first 
felt a stirring and invigorating in- 
fluence in " the power of the hiUs," 
the ** speluncae vivique lacus ; " yes, 
and even the '^molles sub arbore 
somni,'' in places where there is far 
more of the frigida Tempe than in 
Mantua or Cremona. 

Let us begin near home and 
encourage a gradual expansion of 
view. The Isle of Wight is in 
its way rich in beauty and in- 
terest There are wildness and 
nature in abundance, while the 
insularity exempts the wanderer 
from the risks attending long ram- 
bles taken in fits of interest or 
oblivion that annihilate time and 
place, and, at the hour when he 



should have been enjoying the re- 
pose of healthy exercise, appal him 
with the assurance that he is some- 
where ''in terra domibus negata," 
with a worse fate before him than 
the martyrdom courted by the wor- 
shipper of Lalage, since it is not 
in the inconveniently warm vicinity 
of the chariot of the sun that his 
terrors and miseries are aroused, 
but in its distance and obscuratioD. 
Even in such roughing, when it is 
survived, as it generally is, there is 
compensation in the mingled ele- 
ments of endurance, courage, and 
caution communicated to the adven- 
turer. So it is, then, that the no- 
vice in pedestrian adventure may 
discharge anxiety and " take his 
swing," to use an expressive vul- 
garism, in the Isle of Wight. Un- 
disturbed he may enjoy sweet 
variety of rockiness and verdancy ; 
and if he is one who does not 
"^ presume to judge for himself on 
such high matters of taste, let him 
take the authority of Walter Scott, 
who seized at once the supreme rank 
of criticism in scenery by bursting 
on the world with a revelation of 
the glories of Loch Katrine and the 
Trossachs. He called the Wight 
" that beautiful isknd." 

The visitor, if his curiosity is 
not limited to the surface of the 
soil, may here indulge in the exam- 
ination of considerable fossiliferons 
deposits; but he will find this kind 
of treasure far more extensive and 
more remarkable in the neighboor- 
ing district of Portland. The stone 
known by the name of this district 
is so richly fossiliferons, that though 
it has furnished London and other 
parts of the world with building 
material of a beautifuUy uniform 



1881.] 



Hints for the Vacation Ramble. 



165 



colour, and signally free from nod- 
ules or other irr^ularities apt to 
disturb the parity and consistency 
of the cat blocks, yet its richness 
in fossil remains demands extreme 
skill and caation in the selection 
of the blocks, and people endowed 
with close powers of observation 
have detected small ammonites in 
the walls and pillars of St Paul's. 
These, of course, have been so min- 
ute, or otherwise unobservable, as to 
have been unseen both by the ex- 
cavator and the builder, or to have 
been considered too trifling for the 
sacrifice of an otherwise sound 
block. But there are fossil beds 
in the Portland district filled with 
wonderful forms, especially with 
the ammonite, extinct among us in 
the shape in which it has become 
fossil, but represented still in the 
water by the gay and beautiful 
nautilus. 

The ammonite was naturally at 
first welcomed as a petrified snake. 
Some sceptic remarked that it was 
a snake never in possession of its 
head. We all know the cause 
assigned for this peculiarity in an- 
other district where the ammonite 
abounds, to justify in a wondrous 
manner the legend of St Hilda 
tossing the snakes over the rock 
with the efiect of breaking off their 
heads. At Portland, however, the 
headless snakes are more abundant 
and individually remarkable than 
even in St Hilda's district. They 
are to be found from the size of a 
pin-head to that of a carriage-wheel, 
all exquisitely proportioned in the 
succession of cells or chambers en- 
closed by coil after coil in the cir- 
cular range from the centre to the 
exterior. 

If any reader shall suspect that 
we are here dabbling in the science 
of geology, he may perhaps be jus- 
tified in denouncing it as geology 
of a very childish and scienceless 
kind. When the geological science 



of the present day was in its sha- 
dowy development of the grand 
conclusions it now achieves, there 
dropped away from it a subordinate 
or auxiliary science called miner- 
alogy or lithology. Through the 
vast generalisations bequeathed by 
Murchison and Lyell to their rep- 
resentatives, the chemical elements 
that distinguished certain earths 
and stones, as granite, porphyry, 
greywacke, and the like, have been 
subordinated to an inquiry into the 
ever-active but seldom perceptible 
metamorphosing powers at work 
changing and readjusting the cruet 
of the earth. Our tourist is in 
courtesy presumed to be a scholar 
and a gentleman, and therefore ac- 
quainted with the leading principles 
of geologic as of other sciences. 
But crediting him with these among 
his other accomplishments, he will 
probably find in lithology, and 
especially in one of the sub depart- 
ments of that branch called palae- 
ozoic entomology, an enlightened 
and instructive, and, let us hope, a 
not unpleasant source of amusement; 
and it is for the sake of helping 
him to amuse himself that we cheer 
him on to his vacation ramble. 

It is a natural instinct with the 
traveller of every class to acquire 
and bring home some specific arti- 
cles pecuDar to the places where he 
has been. Among natural objects, 
he whose treasure of this kind is 
lithology possesses the most dis- 
tinct and available reminiscences 
of the actual country whose surface 
he has trodden. There is the col- 
lecting of antiquities, of books, of 
works of art, and of objects repre- 
senting the industries of the various 
parts of the world, — all noble ob- 
jects of pursuit, but still leaving 
the fact that the lithologist has the 
best opportunity of showing items 
of what the crust of the earth con- 
tains. The importation of speci- 
mens of animal life is a serious 



166 



lUnUfoT the Vacation Ramble* 



[Aug. 



and cosily affair, to be accomplish- 
ed only by men of large fortune or 
the patrons of public zoological 
collections. Let us not show dis- 
courtesy to the noble and beautiful 
science of botany, and the means 
of ministering to its wants; but 
it cannot be represented with the 
same realistic fidelity as lithology. 
A hnrtus siccus is but an impover- 
ished relic of the flora of the Alps. 
That the beauties or rarities of 
lithology are a natural object of 
acquisition is known to those who 
track the tourist to minister in 
sordid manner to his wants; and 
he is apt to buy from them, or they 
would cease to stand in his path 
with their wares. And if the tour- 
ist were a more cunning man than 
he often is, he would have known 
that the cut gems offered for his 
purchase at Chamouni or Berchtes- 
gaden — even in the Grampians — 
had come from the great central 
workshop of such trinkets on the 
banks of the Kahe in Grermany. 

All these casual remarks go to 
the support of the simple problem, 
that he should litholise for himself. 
If he is ambitious of becoming a 
geologist, this is a fair training for 
his object. The metamorphoses by 
upheaval, depression, or otherwise, 
that supply the geologist with suf- 
ficient causes for the phenomena 
which dignify his science, must 
have taken their character and their 
effective power from the litholo- 
gical structure' of their districts; 
and it is not to be regretted that, 
in acquiring a knowledge of this 
lithological structure, the wanderer 
has got possession of some fine 
specimens of fossils, crystals, or 
agates. 

Another spot where the tourist, 
either unwilling or unable to go far 
from home, may find both scenery 
and lithology, is the highlands of 
Derbyshire, with its peaks and 
caverns. Petrifying springs flow 



there, where the process of turning 
into stone is perceptible; so that 
the owner of the treasure may have 
had the fortune to see its comple- 
tion. But this is a process vastly 
differing from the geological revolu- 
tions that peopled the fossiliferous 
rocks. The petrifying, spring does 
its work by depositing a chemical 
mud called calc-tuff, having the 
faculty, when sparingly covering 
anything, of taking an impression 
of its form ; while if it be abund- 
ant, and deposits itself in unlimit- 
ed quantities, it obliterates all soft 
and ductile things by first rotting 
them, and then, in conjunction 
with the rotted remains, forming 
itself into stone, known as calc-tuff, 
or calcareous tufa. This stone is 
remarkable by becoming, from a 
soft substance, hard by degrees, 
and hardening through centuries 
of exposure. At home it may bn 
found in small deposits here and 
there. In Italy it stretches in 
large masses through Terni, and by 
the banks of the Anio; and it is 
from its property of induration 
that the glorious pillars of Tivoli, 
originally supposed to liave been 
cut out of a soft clay, have defied 
all the enemies that the lapse of 
time lets loose against the work of 
men's hands, retaining a perfection 
of finish and a freshness of beauty 
capriciously conferred on them by 
the power that is so hostile to archi- 
tectural triumphs elsewhere. 

If we suppose that in the process 
which created the original material 
of these close-grained pillars, with 
their sharp distinct cutting and 
fine colour, material to be petri- 
fied was a messy conglomerate 
logs of timber, green branches, 
mosses, weeds, fruit, flowers, lizards, 
frogs, serpente,— every conceivable 
variety of elements to be found 
on the superficial covering of the 
crust of the earth, — we are in a 
position to distinguish the petri* 



1881.] 



Hints for the Vacation Ramble, 



1G7 



factions of the petrifying springs — 
liable to be obliterated and con- 
Terted into solid stone by continu- 
ous activity in tbe petrifying pro- 
cess — ^from the fossils or petrifac- 
tions that beautify and give a sort 
of vitality to the fossiliferous strati- 
fications. 

Of the representations of organic 
life preserved in the fossiliferous 
stratifications, however little we 
can tell about the actual method of 
deposit, we can at least be well 
assured that they are the results 
of a totally different active process 
from the action of those petrifying 
liquids which in the end obliterate 
all organic distinctions and produce 
a homogeneous rock. This latter 
process is of daily influence and 
action among us, but the agencies 
that have created the fossiliferous 
deposits have completed their work 
— how far back in the ages of the 
structure of our globe^ let the sages 
of geological lore tell us. The con- 
vulsions that had done the work 
appear to have been displacements 
of great masses of mud — or, to de- 
fine it otherwise, of some solution 
of inorganic earths in water. What- 
ever we call it, we must hold that 
the liquid or mucous mass set in 
motion was not of a character to 
destroy the organic objects it fell 
upon, but rather received them into 
itself uninjured. The process, how- 
ever, leaves to be accounted for, 
a beautiful mystery, arising out of 
the fact that the stone organism 
within the stony matrix has all the 
component parts of the original 
living organism, animal or vege- 
table. The fish, for instance, is 
not merely complete in its external 
form; but if it be divided, there 
can be identified the skin with its 
scales, the flesh, the vital organs, 
and the tissue of bones. When 
driven to account fox this wonder- 
ful phenomenon, there is no more 
hopeful intellectual refuge to be 



found than in the supposition that 
as each of these elements of the 
composition of the fish decayed one 
after another in the oider of its 
destiuctibility, its place was as- 
sumed by some liquid element 
about to pass into the condition of 
stone; and some aid from plausi- 
bility has been afforded to this hy- 
pothesis, in the consideration that 
the substance of each of the sev- 
eral elements — skin, bone, and in- 
testines — might each have modified 
the character of the matter coming 
in its place. 

A slight misgiving as to the 
gravity of the speculations we have 
drifted into, suggests an apologetic 
explanation, — and with it a sincere 
abjuration of any attempt of the 
kind often perpetrated against the 
holiday-seeker — and naturally more 
frequently against the young than 
the mature in years and experience 
— an attempt to convert holidays 
into working days. The present 
object is not to drive him into dis- 
tricts where he may profitably study 
the science of geology or lithology, 
but to indicate what he may find 
both for amusement and instruction 
in the spots he may seek for the 
pake of their scenery or any other 
attraction. Our ammonites, with 
the kiudred foFsils, have as yet, 
in pursuance of that object, been 
limited to the Isle of Wight and 
the neighbouring rocks of Portland. 
Another eminent abode of the am- 
monites and their kindred is Whit- 
by in Yorkshire. This spot lays 
no great claim to dignity, or beauty, 
or scenery, but it is close to Scar- 
borough, a notable tourists' haunt, 
and is not far distant from Flam- 
borough Head and its precipices. 

It will be admitted that scenery 
is to be found on the banks of tbe 
Tay ; and there, too, is to be found 
in abundance the beautiful agate 
that, in the days when it burst into 
notice as a worthy decoration of 



168 



Uititsfo}' the Vacation Bamble. 



[Aug. 



female beauty, was always talked 
of as the Scotch pebble. The most 
highly esteemed forms of it are also 
known as the fortiiication agate, 
from a certain resemblance found 
in the adjustment of its brilliant 
colours, in angular demarcations 
one within the other, to the bastions 
and ditches of a fortress. The 
agate generally presents itself in a 
rounded lump, rough and unattrac- 
tive on its surface, with perhaps 
more resemblance to an unpeeled 
potato than to anything else, though 
the matrix it is found in is called the 
amygdaloidal trap, from the Greek 
word that is translated as ''almond." 
Again we are thrown into the 
grand phenomena supposed to have 
been at work in the structure of 
the earth, to account for the forma- 
tion of these beautifully variegated 
nodules. 

Let the tourist on the Rhine find 
his way a few miles up the tribu- 
tary stream of the Nahe to the 
dirty village of Oberstein, and stand 
there on the summit of the great 
rock or hill of amygdaloidal trap, 
whence more agates have been 
quarried out than from any other 
spot in the world. He is to sup- 
pose that, in some stage or other 
in the eventful construction of the 
crust of the earth, it had heaved 
itself forth from the fiery zones 
below, a boiling mass of liquid lava. 
When this cooled down, a mass of 
air that had been caught up by the 
boiling fluid could not escape in- 
stantaneously, and so left behind 
certain hollow spaces of the nature 
of air-bubbles. Into these, as the 
ages passed by, certain chemical 
elements existing in the trap found 
their way, forming laminations of 
divers colours according to their 
chemical properties; and it fitted 
into this theory, that clefts in rocks 
of the amygdaloidal trap kind were 
filled with the variety of the pebble 
where the several colours are ar- 



ranged in parallel layers, thus form- 
ing the material used by artists of 
the classic periods in cutting the 
beautiful gems known as onyx 
cameos, the parallel layers permit- 
ting the head to be cut in the 
form most applicable to the purpose, 
while another colour afforded the 
relief or background. If this be 
the true story of the affair at Ober- 
stein, it will apply also to the 
ancient history of the amygdaloidal 
traps on the banks of the Tay. The 
formation may be found in many 
other parts of Scotland not pre- 
occupied by the granite or the gneiss. 
The Pentland Hills consist in great 
measure of the agate- bearing trap, 
though the agates in it are seldom 
so large as to tempt the collector. 

It may seem almost a truism that 
in making his choice for the season 
the holiday tourist should select a 
mountain district. If he has had, 
or is to have, an opportunity of seeing 
the world, that should be a separate 
and weightier af^Eiir, to be adjusted 
with all gravity by those who have 
the responsibility of his training 
and education. 

In the days of Sir Charles Gran- 
dison, a period of early life devoted 
to the visiting of the most renowned 
cities, chief states, and most remark- 
able buildings in the world, was a 
part of a young gentleman's educa- 
tion, and doubtless a very produc- 
tive part. But the world has been 
recast since the day when it was 
convenient to' see the whole of it 
at once, and devote a considerable 
period of a lifetime to that duty. 
If the young gentleman and his 
governor were in Rome, it was well 
to visit France and Spain before 
taking the long journey homewards; 
but express . through - trains have 
removed these difficulties. They 
have brought with them, perhaps, de- 
fects of their own — as, for instance, 
the propensity to hasten over the 
ground, to ''do" the most within 



1881.] 



Hififsfor the Vacation Ramhle. 



169 



the given time. We pass through 
a moantain gorge on a fine summer 
evening. It is a thing of beauty 
and a joy for ever, whether it be to 
be revisited or to be retained as an 
impression on the memory. But 
a hurried visit to a great picture- 
gallery carries to the mind tbat has 
any thoughtfnlness and love of art 
in it, painful sensations of disap- 
pointment and opportunity lost. 
And so it is with every object that 
attracts notice as a permanent mon- 
ument of artistic genius. There 
is something arousing a certain 
feeling of sympathy in the consid- 
eration that time, and art, and effort 
have been devoted to it, — that it 
has been an anxious and probably 
engrossing thought in the mind of 
its creator, Will it give pleasure, 
and be admired 1 Is it a success 1 
Bnt^ature ib lavish with her charms, 
and mountain scenery is not so 
much an object of study as a thing 
to be enjoyed, as the leisure and 
momentary inclination of the wan- 
derer through it may influence him. 
It is a matter of gratifying con- 
sideration that, among more valu- 
able objects of nationd wealth, the 
United Kingdom possesses moun- 
tain-ranges peculiarly endowed with 
beauty and sublimity, and at the 
same time signally accessible. Chief 
among these are the Grampians, the 
cluster in ^orth Wales culminating 
ixL Snowdon, the Lake district of the 
north of England, and the Killamey 
range in Ireland. The oldest favour- 
ite among our mountains is Snow- 
don. People ascended it when there 
was an almost superstitious dread of 
mountain adventure, and the adven- 
turer on his return to the bosom 
of the society of ordinary mortals 
seems to have found temptations 
there to indulge with garrulity on 
the marvels and perils of the achieve- 
ment. However profound the pris- 



tine solitude of the summit of 
Snowdon may have been a century 
ago, the wanderer of the present day, 
if he has succeeded in discovering 
solitary tracks to ascend by, finds 
himself back in society when he 
reaches the summit. As one to 
whom the vision encountered there 
was as unpleasant as it was un- 
expected, might lose his temper 
and become excited in an attempt 
to characterise it, let it be described 
by the sage Murray : " The visitor 
who has thus arrived at the peak of 
Snowdon by any of these routes 
will be much mistaken if he comes 
prepared for mountain solitude, for 
Moel-y-Wyddfa is one of the most 
crowded spots in Wales. The guides 
have erected two huts on the high- 
est point, where comestibles, such as 
eggs and bacon, may be obtained at 
tolerably reasonable prices, consider- 
ing the labour of getting them up. 
In foggy or wet weather it is no 
slight relief to find a dry room and 
blazing fire. A charge of five 
shillings is made for bed and 
breakfast to those who wish to see 
the sun rising." * 

There is some consolation in 
reading this, and even in encoun- 
tering the scene described, in the 
reflection that the precedent thus 
set up on what in the historical and 
social sense is our oldest mountain, 
has not spread to other tops. The 
practice of decorating a summit 
with a tavern is essentially German, 
and is the growth of propensities 
rooted in the German nature. It 
is bom of the desolation and des- 
pair that overtake Herman when 
he sees the prospect of passing a 
couple of hours where beer and 
sausages are unobtainable. And 
indeed, those who come much in 
contact with him suspect that 
he requires these adjuncts to com- 
plete his enjoyment of mountain 



• Handbook for Travellera in North Wales, third edition, p. 116. 



170 



Hints for the Vacation Ramble. 



[Aug. 



scenery. He is said to be peculiarly 
susceptible to the soothing and ex- 
hilarating influences of music ; but 
still the beer and the sausages are 
necessary to give substantiality to 
the tone of the whole affair. A 
mountain expedition by a band of 
German students is apt to lead to 
convivialities even beyond the hum- 
ble standard of beer and sausages. 
Auerbach's cellar in Leipzig, immor- 
talised by Goethe in his 'Faust/ 
has occasionally harboured many a 
merry crew; but all their orgies 
have in recent times been equalled 
or exceeded by the revels in the 
huge substantial Gasthof on the 
summit of the Bloksberg, commonly 
known as the Brocken. 

Perhaps among our home moun- 
tains we may assign Ben Lomond 
as next to Snowdon in the anti- 
quity of its acknowledgment in 
the annals of the picturesque. 
Long as it has been known, and 
multitudinous as its visitors would 
appear if we had them all before us 
in Hades to give account of their 
career on earth, yet the symmetry 
and dignity of the beautiful moun- 
tain as it arose out of the con- 
vulsions that adjusted the present 
crust of the earth, is still untouched 
by such profane hands as those we 
have found leaving their marks on 
Snowdon. Long may it remain so, 
and as long may the pleasant hostel 
at Eowardennan exist to provide 
its comforts and luxuries under the 
conditions. Upwards of a century 
ago a bard who registers his name 
OS Russell, but otherwise has passed 
unknown to fame, embodied his ex- 
perience in certain precepts cut on 
a pane of glass in the neighbouring 
inn of TarbeL Living in the days 
when men were more ready than 
they can venture to be in these 
days of compulsory sobriety that 
render "the partaker" a monster, 
it is refreshing to find some judi- 
cious precepts opening thus — 



" Oh stop a while ; oft taste the cordial 

drop, 
And rest, oh rest, long, long upon the 

top." 

On the question of the frequenpy 
of the application, every wanderer 
will take the -medium suggested by 
the contest between inclination and 
capacity ; but it is always well to 
keep in view, in mountain travel- 
ling, that it may prove perilous 
while there is still climbing or 
descending in prospect to indulge 
in hilarities that might involve no 
danger in the hospitalities of home 
life. 

The vision of Ben Lomond aris- 
ing in the mind through the mist 
of long years spent in the usual 
cares and vicissitudes of the world, 
recalls a Fcene typical of the exhil- 
arating influence of the mountain- 
top on youthful natures. The ascent 
is in the opening of spring, while 
the snow lies deep in the great cor- 
rie. Near the top there had been a 
landslip. From a rock a portion 
loosened by the frost had broken 
away, carrying with it a moraine of 
earth aud stones. The attention 
of one of the party seemed myste- 
riously attracted to this phenom- 
enon, and he was heard to mutter, 
*' What now if there should be a 
dead body below ) " He began forth- 
with to occupy himself in a very 
odd way. A few paces downward 
in the ascent we had observed two 
objects lying on the ground — one 
was a glove, the other a staff, both 
in their weatherworn aspect sug- 
gesting that they had passed the 
winter where they lay. That one of 
the party who seemed to take po 
excited an interest in the recently 
formed moraine, went back for these 
articles, aud proceeded in an insaniah 
sort of manner to stuff the fingers 
of the glove with moss. Then he 
pressed the opening part of the 
glove into the sand of the moraine 
so that the fingers stuck up, and 



1881.] 



Hints fur the Vacation Ramble, 



171 



completed his stage effect by leav- 
ing the staff near the half-buried 
glove. The whole had a very 
suggestive and startling effect. 

It may be said of all our home 
mountains, and especially of the 
highest and the best of them, that 
they are easy of ascent. It is a 
sort of etiquette that mountain 
scenery is not to be noticed except 
in laudation ; but there is no great 
harm in glancing censorially at a 
distance when the result is to ren- 
der us contented with our own. 
The grandeur of Alpine Switzer- 
land, and the peculiar beauties and 
sublimities often so unexpectedly 
revealed in the clefts of the Jura, 
leave yet to the debit side of pro- 
ductiveness in scenery many weari- 
some round-backed hills that, if 
the tourist is so unwise as to seek 
beauty in them, will only serve to 
burden his memory with the pres- 
sure of a monotony of ugliness. 
A great portion of the surface 
of France belongs to this class, 
properly called mountain ground, 
but not mountain scenery. France 
has her share in the glories of the 
Alps and the Pyrenees — and the 
beautiful central patch of scenery 
culminating in the Puy-de-D6me 
is entirely her own ; but her other 
mountain-ranges are characterised 
by wearisome monotony. Pass to 
the other extremity of Europe, and 
we shall find the same feature on 
an exaggerated scale in Norway 
and Sweden. Far away at the 
back, as it were, of this unsightly 
barrier, Norway is enriched with 
scenes of great sublimity and ex- 
quisite beauty; but these are not 
within the easy grasp of the wan- 
derer in his statutory holiday — and 
it is well that he should know this, 
lest when he gets at mouutains in 
Norway he thinks he has also got 
possession of scenery. If he mas- 
ters the geography of the whole 
ground he will find indeed that it 



is a quicker affair to get at the 
Alps than at the veritable Nor- 
wegian scenery. Methods have 
been suggested for shortening the 
journey to the recesses of the 
northern fiords. Let us hope that 
this may some day soon be accom- 
plished, so that it may not happen, 
as it has, that after a week spent in 
vain efforts the party resolve to 
turn their backs to the north, and 
find their way to Switzerland. The 
practical accessibility of the fiords 
running inland from Bergen would 
be a vast addition to the available 
stock of European touring districts. 
Eeturning homewards let us keep 
hold of the pleasant consideration 
that the mountain - ranges of the 
United Kingdom are , signally ac- 
cessible to the adventurer endowed 
with a moderate amount of skill 
and activity. It is a condition, 
however, of these qualities finding 
a successful investment in the ease 
and pleasantness of the ascent, that 
whether it be taken by the lonely 
wanderer, or by a general group of 
friends, it must not be effected 
under the superintendence of a 
guide. The reasons for thiB warn- 
ing are supplied from propensities 
and prejudices that have their roots 
deep down in the fundamental im- 
pulses of human nature. No one 
is so blind to the action of his 
fellow-mortals and their motives, 
as not to have seen that he who 
derives profit from any occupation 
instinctively believes that the oc- 
cupation and its rewards are a 
blessing to the whole human race, 
and as a corollary that their main- 
tenance should be zealously guard- 
ed; and if any change is to be 
effected on the munificent arrange- 
ment, it ought to be in the shape 
of strengthening and enlarging it. 
Now your guide is not a knave, or 
even a superlatively selfish man, 
but he feels like every other person 
who his got the monopoly of an 



172 



HMsfor tJie Vacation Ramble, 



[Aug. 



occupation. There is nothing ia 
tlie world so valuable as guidance 
in bis eyes, and therefore he feels 
it his duty to make the most 
of it. 

If you are determined to do the 
thing, in order that you may say 
you have done it, and not having 
a whole day at your disposal, but 
must encroach on the night, or if 
the weather is rainy or foggy, you 
will surely need the services of a 
guide, and may tax his highest 
skilL Of one thing you may be as- 
sured, that he will, for such an occa- 
sion, select the simplest and least 
dangerous tracks for the ascent. 
A scene of sublime interest is often 
presented in a mountain battered 
by a storm that sways the mighty 
clouds around it, sometimes mys- 
teriously shrouding and enhancing 
the sublimity of great precipices, 
sometimes rolling like huge snow- 
balls down the long slopes. But a 
phenomenon of this kind is best 
witnessed from some elevated ac- 
cessible ground looking across a 
valley to its more lofty neighbour. 
It is from such a post too, that, 
the weather being favourable, the 
ambitious wanderer will trace his 
course to the top. His first con- 
sideration should be the state of 
the weather ; for if there be in it 
the elements that may shroud the 
mountain in mist, it were well to 
postpone or abandon the expedi- 
tion. The paths laid out by nature 
for the ascent of any of our native 
mountains are thas easily traceable ; 
and it is especially so with the 
greatest of all, Ben Kevis, when it 
is examined from the heights above 
Fort William. When the aspirant 
has satisfied himself about the 
available gradients, and has suc- 
cessfully accomplished his project, 
he may feel assured that he has 
found it far more simple and easy 
than a guide would have made it 
for him. 



The casualties from mountain 
adventure are, after all, few when 
counted among those arising from 
the various perils that flesh ia heir 
to. There is scarce a form of or- 
dinary work or occupation in the 
labour that man is doomed to less 
productive of calamities; and the 
amusements the most esteemed for 
their exciting influence — hunting, 
racing, and yachting — are far more 
tragic. The only mountain that at 
the present moment can be recalled 
to recollection is Helvellyn. The 
event was commemorated by the 
mighty Minstrel of the North, in 
a dirge beginning — 

** I climbed the dark brow of the mighty 

Helvellyn — 
Lakes and mountains beneath me gleamed 

misty and wide." 

It is not likely that so illustri- 
ous a commemoration shall follow 
another tragedy of the same kind, 
even if the prospect of such post- 
humous fame should tempt any 
ambitious youth to court it 

If the unknown friend for whose 
benefit the information and precepts 
of these utterances are intended 
should feel a touch of prejudice 
against Helvellyn on account of 
this unfortunate incident^ let him 
turn to the neighbouring Skiddaw. 
The ascent is easy, and it leads to 
a panorama of infinite beauty and 
variety. On a sunny afternoon there 
comes forth a beautifully soft and 
rich effect in the minglings of rock 
and water, especially in the repoae 
of the smaller creeks of Ullswater, 
retreating as it were into the narrow 
openings of its rocky edge. , 

For this feat, as for all others 
among the mountains of the United 
Kingdom, it miy be inferred, from 
what has already been said, that 
the employment of a guide is not 
recommended. If any one looking 
back on his experiences among onr 
mountains will try to find his rea- 



1881.] 



IlirUsfor the Vacation Ramble. 



173 



son for having on any occasion made 
this cumhersome and unsatisfactorj 
addition to his impedimenta, as 
the Itomans aptly called the sol- 
diers' or travellers' luggage, he will 
probahly see that it had nothiog 
more to recommend it than the fact 
that innkeepem, authors of gaide- 
books, and other sage advisers of 
the wanderer, always took for grant- 
ed that he required a guide. A 
friend in Edinburgh became sud- 
denly alive to this view on the 
occasion of an accomplished Cock- 
ney soliciting his services to pro- 
cure for him ''a steady guide to 
Arthur's Seat." At the same time, 
lest the rambling remarks indulged 
in here should create a supposition 
that their utterer considers the guide 
an absolutely useless and superfluous 
being, it may be well to give a hint 
of his proper sphere. Let us fake 
a banker's messenger perfect in the 
geography of " town," able to hit the 
very shortest cuts by half a street's 
breadth, and expert in seizing at 
the right moment the most perilous 
crossings. Set him down in the 
middle of the Arabian Desert, or 
the great steppes of Tartary, and 
let us see how he will find his way 
oat of his perilous position. So 
let the hero who has taken with 
great ease the Cumberland moun- 
tains and the Grampians in their 
order, be whisked through the air 
till he hovers over Mont Blanc, and 
be dropped on the well-known spot 
preposterously called the Jardin, in 
order that he may find his way 
back to the world through the Mer 
de Glace. The mysteries of the 
mountains rising to any consider- 
able height above the midsummer 
snow-line are only to be acquired 
by years of experience and study 
put at the disposal of a sturdy 
frame. 

The " Abode of Snow," or those 
X>arts of the world where it is 
a permanent element, has lately 



received much curious and inter- 
esting elucidation in ^Maga.' It 
opens up associations of grand and 
mysterious interest, especially when 
there comes out the emphatic an- 
tithesis between the solemn silent 
white dome penetrating upwards as 
it were through the heavens, and 
the burning plain below. This is 
felt by those readers of the ' Abode 
of Snow' who have to content 
themselves with what Europe can 
afiford ; and even within such ijar- 
row limits, when out of the fertile 
vales with their glittering streams 
the pure white cone mounts up- 
wards through the clouds, it is an 
object full of the majestic and 
imperial. 

**Mont Blanc is the monarch of monn- 
tains : 

They crowned him long ago 
On a throne of rock, in a robe of clouds, 

With a diadem of snow. 
Around his waist are forests braced, 

The avalanche in his liand." 

This is an apt expression of the 
sense of awe-imposing dignity that 
subdues the wanderer into rever- 
ence when he gazes on these snowy 
heights. To mountain scenery in 
that superbly majestic form we have 
no claim at home ; but still it is but 
just to our native possessions to 
note that we have among them a 
small "Abode of Snow" in the upper 
reaches of the Grampians. Take 
the cluster of hills containing Ben 
Maeduie, Braeriacb, Ben-a-Bourd, 
and Lochnagar. They are from 
a distance seen even in midsum- 
mer to be flecked with patches 
of snow, and these patches when 
approached enlarge themselves into 
small fields. Snow itself is no 
doubt a sufliciently prevalent and 
not highly valued article, disturb- 
ing our equanimity from the slushy 
streets of London to the blocked 
railway on the far-off hills. Yet 
the possession of midsummer snow 
gives a touch of interesting dignity 



174 



Hints for the Vacation RamUe, 



[Aug. 



to the mountain it adorns. It may 
be useful to tell the reader that the 
proper path to this our humble 
native ** Abode of Snow " is by start- 
ing eastward from the Spey. He 
may pitch his tent — ^to use a figura- 
tive expression for finding accom- 
modation in a good inn — either at 
Kingussie or Grantown, where he 
will find entertainment better than 
even the luxuries of the Saut- 
market were in Bailie Nicol Jarvie*s 
daya It is possible, of course, to 
reach the district by the valley of 
the Dee, but scarcely without the 
risk of intrusion on the sorely beset 
privacy of Eoyalty — ^a peril which 
every loyal and even humane sub- 
ject ought dutifully to shun. 

The scenery within the bounds 
of Scotland examined in these cas- 
ual notices belongs to the range of 
the Grampians. But other moun- 
tain groups have their features 
both of the beautiful and the sub- 
lime. As the Jura range may be 
counted a subsidiary companion of 
the Alps, so may the Ochill Hills 
be associated with the Grampians. 
They are not a lofty and dignified, 
scarcely a picturesque range; but 
they are split by cavernous clefts 
like the Klams of the Bavarian 
Alps. Noisy with roaring waters, 
their white cascades and deep black 
pools draw a mysterious and to 
some nerves an intimidating influ- 
ence from the darkness of the deep 
cleft, where 

*' Deep, deep dovsii, and far within, 
Toils with the rock the roaring linn." 

Noticeable among these clefts is 
that leading to the mound sur- 
mounted by Castle Campbell, and 
the valley or gorge of the Devon, 
where it passes from the Bumbling 
Brig to the Cauldron Linn. 

Another district of Scotland is 
dignified by a cataract of a totally 
different character. In Moffatdale 
the Grey Mare's Tail tosses itself 



down the face of a precipitous rock, 
its waters being supplied from the 
** dark Loch Skene." It claims 
rank as the highest of the falls in 
Scotland bulky enough to be called 
cataracts; and this distinction gives 
it a claim to compete for eminence 
with Foyers or the Falls of the 
Clyde, though it does not carry 
down so heavy a bulk as either of 
these more famous cataracts. It 
has the benefit, too, of some com- 
plimentary and sonorous descrip- 
tive flashes from the muse of Scott, 
who naturally cherished it as one 
of the picturesque properties of his 
own Border-land : — 

*' Rises the fog- smoke white as snow, 
Thunders the viewless stream below. 
Diving as if condemned to lave 
Some demon's subterraneous cave. 
Who, prisoned by enchanter's spell, 
Shakes the daik rock with groan and 
yell." 

Not far off, tumbling into Moffat- 
dale from the other side, is a cat- 
aract known as Dob's Linn. The 
rock it springs from was the theatre 
of a contest between two Covenant- 
ing saints on the other, leading to 
the satisfactory result that " Hab 
Dab and David Din, dang the 
deil doon Dob's linn." 

Moffatdale belongs to that Border 
district known otherwise as the 
Land of Scott. It has been cele- 
brated in immortal verse both by 
him and Wordsworth, the contri- 
butions of the two affording oppor- 
tunities for testing, by similarity 
and contrast, the peculiar genius 
of each, — Scott rapid and potent, 
hurrying through his descriptions of 
the savage or the beautiful in com- 
plete devotion to his story or bis 
picture, and utter unconsciousness 
of self ; while Wordsworth plunges 
into the unfathomable depths of 
his own individuality — and what- 
ever he dwells on, stream, cataract., 
or lake, it is treated in i^ation to 
himself and his sensations, or if 



L881.] 



Hints for the Vacation Ramble. 



175 



such sensations exist not, then to 
the remarkable and interesting fact 
of their absence. Thus he must 
faYOur the world with a beautiful 
little morsel from his inner thoughts 
in "Yarrow Unvisited." When 
afterwards he renders an account 
of his visit, a prosaic person who 
has heard of Wordsworth's earnest- 
ness as a poet, might suppose him 
to be expressing a warm reception 
when he tells how " through her 
depths St Mary's Lake is visibly 
delighted." Perhaps Scott did less 
for the celebrity of the district by 
his poetry than by his prose in the 
touching and very beautiful ro- 
mance of * St Ronan's Well/ It 
is now identified in Innerleithen, 
though this very pretty village 
seems scarcely to have existed 
when that novel was published. 
However this may be, by one who 
desires to be in the midst of moun- 
tain scenery, yet demands not that it 
shall be of the rugged and sublime 
school, a more pleasant haunt is 
not easily to be found. 

The traditions about Scott cur- 
rent among the peasantry of the 
Border districts treat him some- 
what as a star apart. He lived in 
his own castle, where he received 
visitors of rank and fame, more after 
the manner of a prince than a poet 
or story-teller. He was the sheriff 
or chief local judge of the district ; 
and indeed in that capacity, as a 
terror to evil-doers, drew more re- 
spect than any paid to his genius. 
The recollections of James Hogg, 
the Ettrick Shepherd, were more 
genial and friendly, especially on 
all convivial occasions where mem- 
ories of past scenes of the same 
character were recalled. He had a 
iiatnre that drew around him kin- 
dred spirits from all available dis- 
tances, and they surrounded him 
with many an improvised group of 
levellers. Even when he paid an 
occasional visit to Edinburgh this 

VOL. CZZX. — NO. DCCXO. 



attractive quality was signally illus- 
trated. There are people alive who 
can remember meeting Hogg in his 
selected tavern opposite the Grey- 
friars' Church. If he was found 
alone the population of his chamber 
was not long restricted to the ten- 
ant and his visitor. Dropping in 
one by one, the group enlarged 
until it filled the largest room in 
the house; and it was observable 
that the landlord seemed to consider 
the apparition of Hogg at his door 
as equivalent to an intimation that 
he must expect a large public din- 
ner-party, and draw upon his re- 
sources as rapidly as possible. 

Of all the spots dignified by scen- 
ery in our own island noted in these 
rambling remarks, it will be seen 
that they are approachable without 
exposure to danger, and very little 
exposure to hardship. The holiday- 
seeker may, however, find these 
elements no farther off than that 
portion of the United Kingdom 
called Ireland. Let him go to Kil- 
larney. It is not that, following 
the directions of the guide-bookp, 
or coming under the jurisdiction of 
the guides, he will be subject to 
dangers and difficulties, or even to 
anything that can be fairly spoken 
of as ** roughing it." Indeed 
nothing can exceed the luxurious 
hospitality of the hotels, and their 
desire to serve the stranger and 
thankfully accept the due reward 
of the service. An instance in 
point may be cited. A lady having 
dropped her parasol from her car- 
riage, a ragged peasant anticipated 
her attendant in recovering it ; and 
though he cast wistful looks after 
the retreating vehicle, as if he 
thought there was a serious omis- 
sion to acknowledge his eminent 
services, yet bo sure seemed the 
reward for a feat so meritorious, 
that he got drunk on the credit of 
its being duly acknowledged. But 
let the visitor stray from his com- 

M 



Hints for the Vacation Ramble. 



[Aug. 



fortable hotel beyond the fairy 
region under its influence, and 
flounder among the bogs of Kerry, 
he will soon find himself both 
in difficulty and danger. Perhaps 
these evils were encountered in an 
aggravated form by two friends 
who were so unfortunately foolish 
as to resolve on a search for adven- 
tures before the famine period of 
Ireland had completely passed over. 
If they wandered in the insane hope 
that, as in England or Scotland, they 
might find shelter in a decent cot- 
tage where a frugal meal could be 
procured, their mistake was lament- 
able. The helpless creatures they 
met directed them to the abode of 
a farmer who employed ten assist- 
ants, but he could give them no- 
thing but diseased potatoes. It was 
a contrast to this when they were 
enabled to reach a village which 
the abundance of trout-fishing had 
made a sort of out-station of the 
Killarney establishments. They ob- 
served that they might have for- 
gotten that they were still in Ire- 
land but for an entry in the visitors' 
book intimating that ''Sir Lucius 
and Lady O'Rooney arrived at this 
excellent inn by mere chance, and 
recommend all their friends to do 
the same." 

To the man whose every day, 
with sometimes a portion of the 
night, is absorbed in hard labour, 
especially of the intellectual kind, 
his recess into holiday life in the 
bloom of the year or before the leaf 
has become sere and yellow, is a 
matter of earnest moment ; and the 
responsibility of any one who, either 
in wickedness or levity, should lead 
him astray, is momentous. It is 
but common charity to believe, 
then, that Byron was under the 
spell of some delusive influence 
when he sang — 

** Adieu to thee, fair Rhine. How long 

delighted 
The stranger fain would linger on his way ! 



Adieu to thee again — a vain adieu ; 
There can be no farewell to scene like 

thine. 
The mind is coloured by thy every hue, 
And if reluctantly the eyes resign 
Their cherished gaze upon thee, lovely 

Rhine, 
'Tis with the thankful glance of part- 
ing praise. 
More mighty spots may rise, more glar- 
ing shine, 
But none unite in one attaching maze 
The brilliant, fair, and soft — the glories 
of old days." 

Now, to a lover of sparkling and 
transparent streams, there is in the 
Khine an insuperable element of 
the odious; its waters are dirty, 
and only in too much harmony with 
another local feature, described by 
the poet as 

'* Peasant girls with deep-blue eyes, 
And hands which offer early flowers. 
Walk smiling o'er that paradise," 

— a hint unpleasantly recalling the 
slovenly women pestering the un- 
fortunate pedestrian for groschen in 
return for the paltry weeds held in 
their dirty fingers. 

The causes of the dirty muddi- 
ness of the Rhine are somewhat 
mysterious. Coleridge is brilliant 
on the dirt of Cologne ; and telling 
how it is washed by the Ehine, 
he exclaims — 

** But tell me. Nymphs ! what power 

divine 
Shall henceforth wash the river Rhine ? *' 

But the washing is only used in a 
figurative sense, applicable to the 
district or city passed by a flowing 
river; and indeed, although the 
Rhine carried with it all the pollu- 
tion of Cologne, that would hardly 
account for its dusky muddiness. 
The Rhine, indeed, is chiefly fed 
from glaciers — and it is a too well- 
known feature of these icy scaven- 
gers of the mountains, that the 
streams issuing from them are tur- 
bid and muddy ; but the Rhine 
has rid itself of all this element of 
pollution long ere it reaches " the 



1881.] 



Hints for the Vacation Ramble, 



177, 



castled crag of Dracbenfells ; " and 
indeed past Easle it flows in an 
expanse of lovely translucent blue. 
If the wanderer desires to see 
with how much majesty a river 
can issue from a glacier, let him 
find the source of the Rhone. Let 
us suppose that he has climbed to 
the great cat-aract of Handek, and 
slept at the hospice of the Grimsel. 
At early morn when he is afoot, 
instead of descending towards Swit- 
zerland, let him ascend westward, 
passing the cheerful margin of the 
" Todten See," or lake of the dead, 
—so called, as the guide-books tell 
us, because of old tbe bodies of 
travellers lost on the pass were 
tossed into it. The summit of the 
pass is reached; and thence, deep 
down, but distinct, as if it were 
not half a mile away, if the day 
be clear, the Ehone and its parent 
glacier are visible. The glacier is 
in a cleft of the mountain-range, 
and rises up to what would be a 
dome-shaped mountain of ice, were 
it not that it is subordinated by the 
Alpine tops above. From a great 
archway in the glacier the Ehone 
leaps forth and tumbles down a 
long steep bank to the Lake of 
Geneva, where it gets itself washed 
and comes forth entirely trans- 
parent save for a beautiful pale- 
blue tinge; and so it flows on 
iintil, to its misfortune, it is joined 
by a stream fresh from its glacier 
source, and is turbid again for many 
a mUe — making a good parallel to 
the naughty youth who, left to 
his own ways, takes a turn and 
becomes virtuous, but happening to 
fall again into the hands of an old 
companion in mischief, is subdued 
by his firmer will into the evil 
ways of both. It would be dealing 
with palpable notorieties in scenery,. 
and an officious interference with the 
privileges and responsibilities of the 
guide-bookp, to devote an effort of 
descriptive eloquence on Switzer- 



land and the Alps ; and it is offered 
as a vindication of the few words 
here bestowed in that direction, 
that as a good deal of recommen- 
datory advice has been given about 
our home scenery, this has not been 
commended without a full sense of 
the glories that await the rambler 
should he find his way to any of the 
snow-clad mountain-chains of Cen- 
tral Europe. It has been already 
explained that in these districts the 
guide may be a necessity. But in 
the general case he is so only when 
the region of snow is entered, and 
the motions of the tourist are in 
the category of hard work rather 
than of pleasant, easy vagabondage. 
It is not safe to wander on the 
Mer de Glace or any other exten- 
sive glacier without the aid of an 
adviser, not only learned in scenery 
of that character, but deeply expe- 
rienced in the perilous peculiarities 
of the special ground to be tra- 
versed. 

But it would take a long holiday 
to exhaust the resources in Switzer- 
land and the valleys of the Alps 
to one who is content to ramble 
through scenes of exquisite beauty. 
Even in the path from Interlachen, 
with its soft repose of loch, meadow, 
and noble trees, to the source of 
the Rhone, where we have already 
found it, there is wealth of beauty 
and sublimity. The valley of 
Lauterbrunnen is full of waterfalls, 
any one of them grand enough to 
be a treasure elsewhere. Pre emi- 
nent among them is the Staubbach, 
tossing itself over a ridge some nine 
hundred feet above the level of the 
valley. In a summer night, to one 
wending his way upwards to the 
Wengern Alp, the top of the fall may 
be seen blazing in the evening sun- 
shine, while it seems to toss itself 
into a chasm, where it disappears in 
indefinite gloom. In contrast to 
the darkness below, the Jungfrau, 
towering over the end of the valley, 



178 



Hints for the Vacation Ramble. 



[Aug. 



lifts its white peak to the setting 
sun ; and perhaps the hot summer 
day having melted a large mass of 
its snows, the stillness of the sum- 
mer evening is disturhed by the 
frequent roar of avalanches. To 
reach a panorama of scenery vying 
with this, our friend may take a 
long walk down the banks of the 
Ehone, through Brieg, Martigny, and 
other sepulchral-looking, old, half- 
ruinous towns, till the road ascend 
the Col de Balme; and thence, 
when the summit is reached, Mont 
Blanc stands forth before the wan- 
derer in all its sunny and cloudy 
glories. 

Your late friend, the eloquent 
describer of ** The Abode of Snow," 
has had opportunities of dealing 
with mountain - ranges far more 
gigantic even than the Alps, but 
hopelessly reserved from all the 
world having ties, whether of occu- 
pation or otherwise, to home life. 
But he has a pleasant word to con- 
tribute to the Alps. Indeed there 
is something of magnanimous gener- 
osity in the tone of this author in 
dealing with the privileges and en- 
joyments of those who are obliged 
to be content with more accessible 



theatres of enjoyment on mountain 
land. 

" The Himaliya, as a whole, are not 
80 richly apparelled as the Alps. In 
Kashmir, and some parts of the Siitlej 
valley, and of the valleys on their In- 
dian front, they are rich in the m(>>t 
glorious vegetation, and present, in 
that respect, a more picturesciue ap- 
pearance than any parts of Switzer- 
land can boast of ; but one may travel 
among the great ranges of the Asiatic 
mountains for weeks, and even months, 
through the most sterile scene?, with- 
out cominjTj on any of these regions of 
beauty. There is not here the same 
close union of beauty and grandeur, 
loveliness and sublimity, which is 
everywhere to be found over the 
Alps. There is a terrible want of 
level ground and of green meadows 
enclosed by trees. Except in Ka.--h- 
mir, and about the east of Laihik, 
there are no lakes. We miss much 
those Swiss and Italian expanses of 
deep blue water, in which white towns 
and villages, snowy peaks and dark 
mountains, are so beautifully mirrored. 
There is also a great want of perennial 
waterfalls of great height ana beauty, 
such as the Staubbach ; though in 
summer, during the heat of the day. 
the Himdliya, in several places, pn*- 
sent long graceful streaks of dust- 
foam."* 



* Second Edition, p. 251. 



1881.] 



Florio : A Little Tragedy. 



179 



FLOEIO: A LITTLE TRAGEDY. 



It is night in Venice, 
low voice lazily : — 



Clelia 18 alone in her balcony. She sings in a 



Death with my heart in a thin cold hand, 
O dear Death that art dear to me — 

Love of my heart, the wide waste land, 
O my lost love, holds nought hut thee ! 

There is nought in the land, or sea, or sky. 

But thou, and the man that once was I. 



A pretty farrago of love and death ! 
Whether this youth he singing to 
death or to his lady-love ; whether 
love he death, or death love ; whe- 
ther his lady he dead, or he he 
dead, or hoth ; let my little Florio 
say, if he can, for he made the 
. verses and the music. How these 
children lisp of love and death ! 
One would think they cared not a 
jot which of the two came to kiss 
them. It is all a matter of the 
minor key. If a round-shot knocked 
the mandolin from young master 
poet's fingers, would he not crouch 
behind the chair with his milk- 
teeth chattering 1 I have not seen 
my little poet, my singer of love- 



lorn songf, for days. He makes 
pretty verses, and not too powerful. 
They are not so weak either. 
Wonderful is the power of song. 
I have hut to sing this rhyme of 
love and death a little louder, only 
a little louder; and at the signal, 
from the low black arch opposite 
creeps noiseless a gondola. So 
slight a thread may draw a strong 
man, — one who dare sing of death 
and face him too. Three notes of 
this poor melody — of dear death, 
forsooth — would bring Duke An- 
gelo from his great black palace. 
So one may lure spiders. But I 
will sing to myself only — softly — 
softly — 



^0 perfume is left on the fair broad earth 

But the scent of thy raiment passing sweet ; 
No gold of price, no 



What man is that 1 

Florio (who has dimhed unseen 
to her balcony). No man, 

Clelia. A poet, then. Why have 
you come ? 

Fl. Why ! 

CI. Because the night is fair, and 
craves for song? Have you some 
new numbers, little poet? This 
exquisite pale night is like a lady 
faint with passion, a dumb queen 
who longs to sing. Find her a 



voice, Florio. Sing for her and for 
me. 

Fl. My song of death and love 1 

CI. No. Any song but that. 
Not that — not yet. Where have 
you been theee many idle days ? 

Fl. Away from you. 

CI. Where? 

Fl. I know not. Only I know 
that I was not with you. I meant 
to see you no more. 

CI 'Twere pity, Florio. 



180 



Florio: A Little Tragedy, 



[Aug. 



FL Only a few days have gone; 
only a few nights like this night, 
accursed, which hums me like a 
shirt of fire ; and I am here again. 
Yesterday I was far from this place. 
I had left you. I thought that I 
was free. And now I am here — 
here with you. Venice hreathes 
flame to-night ; and you are Venice. 
How heautiful you are ! 

CL Yes, in the shadows ; beauti- 
ful as this night. Yes, I am Ven- 
ice. She is a queen in tarnished 
gold, is she not 1 Venice and I are 
growing old, and are most beautiful 
in the loving shadow of a night 
that half conceals. And this night 
is like fire to you 1 Boy, it is full 
of coolness and softness, bountiful, 
tender, sweet. I am young to-night. 
Sing to me. 

Fl, I have forgotten how to sing 
since you taught me to love. 

CL Song without love is a cup 
without wine. If you had ever 
loved, your heart would be full of 
melodies, as the night is full of stars. 

FL Cut like a gallant's love into 
a myriad little fires. 

CL Often so — not always. There 
are many stars, but only one 
moon. 

FL I am full of one love, as this 
night is filled to overflowing by one 
moon. 

CL You are too young to love. 

FL Why am I here, then? 

CI, To be with me. 

FL And is that not lovol 

CL Or habit. There are many 
kinds of love. Listen, Florio. There 
is the love of a child for sweetmeats. 
Is yours such a love 1 There is the 
love of a youth for himself — a van- 
ity which needs feeding by girls' 
glances; and this the young do 
for the mo3t part mistake for love. 
Then there is the love of a man, 
— but that is terrible. 

Fl, Is there no love of women ? 

CI, Women are loved. They like 



to be loved. They love love. Florio, 
on such a night as this, I feel that 
every girl in Venice dreams that 
she is loved. Breathless she awaits 
her lover. There is a sound of the 
guitar and mandolin ; the whisper 
of a song ; the soft lisp of the gon- 
dolier's oar, and the drip of silver 
drops from the blade that turns in 
the moonlight. Then in the black 
shadow a little window opens; there 
is a faint light in the room ; half 
hidden behind the curtain she 
stands trembling ; she wishes him 
away, and she wishes him anear ; 
her lips speak without her will, and 
she hears his name in her ears, and 
her ears grow hot with shame. " An- 
gelo," she whispers — " Angelo ! " 

FL Angelo ! 

CL Or Beppo or Pippo or Cecco : 
it matters not a jot who the man 
is, so he be man and lover. There 
is a girl. I have painted her, com- 
plete from head to heel — a girl of 
Venice. 

FL The night is sultry. I am 
stifled. 

CI, Ah, little one, you cannot 
feel the passion of this night. You 
cannot be a woman, poet though 
you be. 

FL Poet! I was a bird with 
one note. You tamed me to your 
hand ; and I am dumb. 

CL Then I shall whistle yoa 
away. What ! keep a songless 
thrush ! Pipe to me, pipe. Think 
of all the maidens dreaming around 
us, dreaming all of love : think of 
them ; dream of them ; sing for 
them. Sing to me. 

FL I can think of no girl but 
one ; and she dreams of no lover. 
Or if she dream of a lover, dreams 
of no man, but of some being puro 
as she and noble — such as men are 
not — or are not here in Venice. 

CL And who is this girl 1 Some 
convent sparrow ? 

FL My little sister. 



1881.] 



Fiona : A Little Tragedy, 



181 



CL A tall girl too, and a pretty. 
1 have seen her. And she does 
not dream of a lover ? Is there no 
brown boy, no 

FL No. I have told you. If 
she have dreamed of love, it is of 
some angel-lover, noble and pure — 
as she thought me. And I shall 
make her weep! A curse fell on 
me when I saw your face. 

CI. My Florio ! 

17. My love I (He falls at Tier 
feefy and the hand which she yields 
him is wet with his tears.) 

CL And you tried to leave me % 
Ungrateful. You will not leave 
me. This hour is for us. Is not 
this hour beautiful 1 Beautiful for 
me and thee % 

FL For me and thee. 



CI. Sing to me, my bird with 
the sweet voice — sing to me. 

FL I cannot sing. It is so good 
to be silent when I am near you. 

CL Sing ; and I will give you 
this rose from my breast. See ! It 
is pale in the moonlight, but the 
scent is sweet. Sing to me, Florio ; 
and as your song, like this queen 
rose, fills the night full with per- 
fume ; so like a rose my heart will 
open to love, as my arms open now. 
{She stretches her arms to the dark 
palace opposite.) 

FL Drop your arms. They 
strangle me. They are great white 



CL See how I obey you 1 Obey 
me. Sing to me — sing to me of love ; 
but not of love and death — not yet. 



FL {sings). — If face of mine this night 
My lady dreaming see, 
I pray that kind and bright 
With gentle thoughts it be. 

May no rude look of mine 
Trouble my lady's breast ; 

Eut dreams of me incline 
Her soul to sweeter rest. 



{As the last note of the music 
trembles to sil€7ieej she laughs.) 

FL Ah ! why do you laugh 1 
It is horrible. 

CL It is the song of a youug 
monk. A pretty pale face to look 
into a dreaming woman's dream, — 
and make her sleep the sounder. 
This is a night too exquisite for 
sleep. It is a night of all the 
loves. 

FL Of all the infamies! The 
hot air stifles me. It is full of 
the sighs of men, who lie deep in 
Flime below these creeping waters. 
Every breath is heavy with awful 
memories ; of secret judgment, and 
noiseless murder; foul love and 



quick revenge ; blood of a thousand 
knives ; fumes of a thousand cups, 
and in each cup poison ; poison in 
the very flowers of God — in this 
rose poison ! 

{He sets his foot upon the rose ; 
she laughs again,) 

CL Do you think that I would 
kill you? 

FL Have you not killed mel 
You have killed hope in me ; you 
have killed my faith in woman. 
And here you stand close to me — 
your gown touches me — and smile, 
as if a smile could warm the dead 
to life. You cannot warm me to 
life. Will that crushed rose open 
its heart again, because you smile? 



182 



Flario : A Little Tragedy. 



[Aag. 



I am dead in a dead world. The 
world was all so beautiful to me — 
a web of colour, a fountain of sweet 
scent, its air all music. And then 
one day you smiled on me, as you 
are smiling now; and perfume, 
soDg, and colour rushed together, 
and were one — were you; they 
found one exquisite form, and it 
was yours; and love found a lan- 
guage in your eyes. 

You held my heart in your hand, 
and you have frozen it. And you 
have killed truth too. I can be- 
lieve no more ; and you have made 
me lie. "When I am away from 
you, I comfort my soul with lies, 
and find torture. I prove to my- 
self that you love me. I have a 
thousand unmistakable proofs. Oh, 
I can argue with a fine subtlety. I 
explain to myself your every word, 
your slightest look. I show myself 
why I may be sure that I am loved. 
These are all lies. I am never de- 
ceived. I know that you are cold 
to me, as the grave will be cold. 
I know that you would play with 
me, and crush me, as this rose 
under my heel, when you are 
weary of me. I know you. I 
have judged you. 

CL And condemned 1 MyFlorio, 
look in my eyes, and tell me I am 
condemned. Look at me. 



FL I will not. I know your 
power. 

CL Why should I hurt you? 

Fl, For knowledge. Mine is the 
loving heart, and yours the sur- 
geon's knife. Tou are cold and 
curious. 

CI. Cold on this night ! I think 
it is the beating of warm hearts 
that makes this pulse of the air. 
And what if it be true ? — ^what if I 
cannot love 1 — should you not pity 
me ? Pity me, my Florio. 

FL You did not pity me. 

CL I almost love you for your 
scorn of me. 

FL Yes, you can almost love. I 
pity you. 

CI. I am tired of men's praises. 

Give me more blame But no ! 

Sing to me. 

Fl. That you may laugh again. 

CI. There will be no laughter. 
Sing before you go— — 

FL I am to go, then ? 

CI. All good things go. Sing me 
your song of Death and Love. 

FL It was the first song I ever 
sang to you — that spring day on 
the island. 

CL I remember. For my sake, 
Florio ! Sing it to me now. (Ife 
begins to murmur the song, hut she 
stops him.) Louder and clearer, 
Florio. Let the night hear it all. 



Fl. (sings). — Death with my heart in a thin cold hand, 
O dear Death tliat art dear to me — 
Love of my heart, the wide waste land, 

O my lost love, holds nought but thee ! 
There is nought in the land, or sea, or sky, 
But thou, and the man that once was L 



No perfume is left on the fair broad earth 
But the scent of thy raiment passing sweet ; 

No gold of price, no fame of worth. 
But only the place where we did meet ; 

Death ! — do I call on Death ? Ah me ! 

1 thought to call on Death, but I cry sweet love to thee. 



1881.] 



Florio ; A Little Tragedy, 



CI. Do you know why you sang 
that song? 

Fl. To please you. 

CI. To please me ; yes. 

Fl. What do you mean 1 

CI. It is my signal to Duke 
Angelo. 

Fl. What if he find you dead ? 

CI. Put up your dagger. You 
daie not use it. 

Fl. If I struck here, here in my 
heart, I should feel no more. You 
know me — you know I dare not 
strike. You have killed courage 
in me, as you killed faith, and 
hope, and love. There, take my 
dagger at your feet. God pardon 
you. 

(He leaps from the balcony. She 
leans her bosom on the edge and 
looks into the water below.) 

a Will he drown? No. There, 



183 



it. 



he rises; he swims. I knew 
They do hut sing of death. 

O Venice, mother of mine, what 
think you of the hrood of men that 
crawl upon your waters? Dukes 
and fishermen, blowers of glass or 
breathers of song, they are all men 
— and that's the pity. Florio has 
sung, and Angelo has heard his 
song. How sharply the black 
gondola severs itself from the dark- 
ness of the low archway ! So 
death might steal from the sha- 
dows. It seems as I had seen 
this thing long ages since in some 
dead world. More music ! {From 
the canal rises the Duke's voice sing- 
ing the song of Florio.) Ah me, 
but I am tired of that song ! {She 
tosses him the rose, which Florio^ s 
heel had crushed, and so begins to 
laugh again.) 



184 



Tlie Private Secretary. — Part X. 



[Aug. 



THE PRIVATE SECRETARY. — PART X. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 



Clifford rushed off to Waterloo 
and took train for Kainham. As 
he hurried from the station he met 
Hilda coming towards him. It was 
in the puhlic road they met, bor- 
dered by little villas. A railway 
porter was strolling home to his 
dinner; an empty fly was return- 
ing slowly to the station. All was 
prosaic around as this romance was 
being played out before the uncon- 
cerned passers-by. The only em- 
brace possible for him was to take her 
outstretched hands as her eyes met 
his, timidly, yet suffused with love. 

"Where were you going?" he 
said. 

"To meet you. I knew my 
letter would be delivered at eleven. 
So I thought you would catch this 
train." 

Ko more was said. He could 
see the traces of past emotion in 
her face, but it now shone with 
love for him, calm and modest love. 
Having yielded, she would not 
make the sacrifice a grudging one, 
whatever it might have cost her. 
She placed her arm in his, and they 
turned and walked back together. 
Clifford was too joyous to speak. 

When they reached her cottage, 
he stopped involuntarily. " Let us 
go on to the river, Robert," said 
Hilda; "let us take the walk we 
walked the other day." 

**So be it; you are wisest and 
best, in this as in all things. I, 
too, should like to efface the im- 
pressions of that day. I felt as if 
I should never be able to bear the 
sight of that reach of the river 
again. I daresay, too, your modest 
larder would hardly furnish lunch- 
eon for a guest Let us walk on to 
the 'Angler' and get some luncheon 
in the arbour there, on the river- 



bank. Do you know, I feel quite 
hungry — a new sensation ; and you 
look as if you had eaten nothing 
since Sunday. Is it not so 1 " And 
he pressed the little hand resting 
on his arm. 

The day was fine, the air cool 
after the storm of Sunday ; the 
peaceful river-scene never looked 
more smiling than on this afternoon 
as the lovers strolled along the 
bank. Cautiously, as if still hardly 
daring to feel certain that his prize 
was won, Clifford gradually unfolded 
his plans. His first impulse had 
been to carry off his bride at once ; 
but reflection while coming down 
in the train had brought him to a 
different view. Hilda should not 
appear to be flying away. She had 
no friends or relatives to consult, 
but still all should be done in 
orderly fashion, without the sem- 
blance of haste or flight. And Hil- 
da appreciated her lover's thought- 
fulness as he explained his pro- 
posals. This was Tuesday. Could 
Hilda arrange to have her modest 
trousseau ready by Saturday 1 Kot 
much was needed, as they would 
stop at Paris; but her little bills 
at Eainham had to be settled, and 
the cottage must be placed in 
charge of a house-agent, Martha 
being relegated to leave of absence 
on board-wages till Captain Eeid's 
pleasure regarding her future should 
be ascertained. Clifford for his part 
would have plenty to do in winding 
up his affairs. Fortunately his mode 
of benevolence did not commit him 
for the future, but the various new 
projects which had been in contem- 
plation must be stopped. Some 
time would elapse before the trus- 
tees would cease to stop paying his 
full income, but from this time he 



1831.] 



The Private Secretai-y. — Part X. 



185 



should limit his drawings to the 
portion which would now legally 
continue to be his. Another place 
must he found for Jane ; Simmonds 
was to be allowed indefinite fur- 
lough; the chambers were to be 
shut up and placed in charge of 
the porter. 

The mixture of business and love- 
making involved in discussing these 
arrangements CliiFord found exqui- 
sitely pleasant. Certainly the time 
passed quickly. "If we only had 
pen and ink here, Hilda/' said he, 
**you should draft all my letters to 
the different people I have to write 
to. I shall now have to write them 
all myself, and what a lot there 
are ! A truly doleful prospect ! — 
four whole days with no private 
secretary to help me ! " 

Ouly when Clifford made Hilda 
take the money for her wants did 
she betray her feelings. " I have 
enough to pay for everything," she 
said, pushing back the hand with 
its gold and notes. " I owe only a 
trifle in the village, and I can put 
off buying things till " 

" This is no gift, Hilda, it is your 
money. But stay, let us be busi- 
ness-like. Here is your half-quar- 
ter's salary still due, and a further 
quarter's salary payable because you 
have been dismissed from your ap- 
pointment without notice. Let us 
make out the exact amount, and 
you shall give me a receipt for it." 
And working out the sum on the 
hack of a letter, he counted it out. 
"There, now we are square, my 
private secretary is dismissed 1 " 
Then they walked back again. 

"When they reached the cottage 
gate there was again a stop, and a 
hesitation. 

"Will you not come inl" she 
said, as they stood looking at each 
other; "Martha shall make you 
some tea. I know you like your 
afternoon cup of tea," 

"You are too good to me," he 
replied, looking wistfully at her; 



" but my next cup of tea shall be 
made by you, without any other 
agency. No; I tear myself away 
till you are really mine. Write to 
me if you want help in anything ; 
but if not, we meet on Saturday 
evening at the Victoria Station." 
He was bending forward to kiss 
her, but a foot-passenger was com- 
ing down the lane ; he could merely 
press her hands, and giving her one 
fond look, and saying, " Till Satur- 
day," set off for the station radiant 
with joy. 

And yet his happiness was not 
altogether unalloyed. Although 
Clifford was now in a state of ex- 
citement quite foreign to his usual 
disposition, he could not but know 
in his heart that he was guilty of 
deceiving the woman he loved. In 
explaining his position, and the 
bonds in which he was held by his 
father's will, he had not told her 
the whole truth; and in keeping 
back a part, he had, his conscience 
told him plainly enough, been say- 
ing what was false. It was not 
true that there was no alternative 
between remaining unmarried and 
surrendering the whole of his for- 
tune. A third course was open to 
him, by which he might both save 
a remnant of it, and yet be free 
hereafter to marry as he pleased. 
But hereafter — ^not at once ; and the 
period designated involved so long 
a waiting as in his present state of 
feeling it seemed impossible to en- 
dure. More than once, indeed, as 
in his journey back to town, dwell- 
ing on the past meeting, and recall- 
ing the look of resignation he had 
noticed at times on Hilda's face — 
which showed him plainly, even if 
he had not known it from what 
passed before, at what a cost she 
had brought herself to the sacri- 
fice she was going to make for 
his sake — he felt an impulse from 
his better nature to turn back and 
tell her the whole truth. But he 



186 



The Primte Secretary. ^Part X 



[Aug. 



could not bring himself to make 
an avowal which he felt sure must 
put off their union into the in- 
definite future; for he knew well 
that, although he had gained her 
heart, if the option were now given 
her of making wedlock possible, 
even at the cost of many years' 
delay, Hilda would appeal to his 
generosity to release her from the 
promise she had now been induced 
to make — nay, more, that she would 
insist on it : she would not be his 
Hilda if she did less, and he could 
not bring himself to so much self- 
denial. Selfish love had for the 
time the mastery of him. Nor was 
there wanting, as there seldom is 
wanting when the heart inclines to 



baseness, a plausible excuse. After 
all, was it not too late to go back 1 
Welcome though release would be 
to her, would she not despise him 
for having all this while been de- 
ceiving her ? Might she not even 
spurn him altogether, and so be lost 
to him for ever? And he could 
not bring himself to face the possi- 
bility of such a blow. The mis- 
chief, then, was done already, and 
could not be undone. After all, she 
need never know of this condition. 
But as he finally came to this re- 
solve, his conscience told him that 
if she did ever find out his treach- 
ery, she would never forgive him ; 
at any rate, that he would deserve 
not to be forgiven. 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 



Clifford's continued absence 
from Charles Street was naturally 
ascribed by his aunt to the dis- 
covery which she fancied she had 
made. His marriage having been 
found out, as she supposed, he 
would of course be ashamed to face 
his relations, and could hardly do 
otherwise than stay away and await 
the consequences of the discovery ; 
and if Mrs S call an had been still 
alone she would have set about 
taking some steps to pursue the 
matter further. But it was not 
the good lady's habit to take the 
initiative in anything while her 
husband was at hand, and he was 
just now so preoccupied with his 
own affairs that it was impossible 
to interest him in anything else. 
On the only occasion when she 
tried to broach the subject, he had 
repulsed her even more savagely 
than usual ; and, indeed, she was 
herself so much absorbed in watch- 
ing him that she had little time to 
think about her nephew ; while 
Blanche, who had her own reasons 
for keeping silence on the subject, 
displayed an equal indifference 



when her mother referred to it. 
Mrs Scallan saw very little of her 
husband during this time. He was 
absent for the greater part of the 
daytime, and often till late at 
night, and when at home he was 
generally closeted with strangers. 
He would breakfast alone before 
his wife and daughter were up, and 
the family seldom met except at 
dinner, when he would drink so 
hard as to be unfit for conversation 
afterwards. Mrs Scallan had often 
known her husband in difficulties, 
but she had never seen him like 
this before. He used always to be 
cheery and hopeful at such times ; 
and, in fact, whatever temporary 
eclipses he h^d suffered at various 
periods of his career, he had always 
emerged more confident and appar- 
ently more prosperous than ever. 
But now his buoyant manner had 
forsaken him except in his cups, 
and, even after drinking, his sleep 
was uneasy and disturbed. Per- 
haps the poor wife learnt more of his 
affairs then than he imparted to her 
when awake. 

She felt it to be a very bad 



1881.] 



The Private Secretary. — Part X, 



187 



symptom tliat no ready money was 
forthcoming. " Don't bother your- 
self about such a trifle as that/' he 
said, when she was obliged to ask 
him for some. '* There is no place 
like London for living in without 
spending money, especially when 
you have established your credit by 
spending so much already." And 
so, under Mr Scallan's orders, the 
business of the household went on 
as usual. The poor lady with an 
aching heart paid and received vis- 
its, and she and Blanche partook 
of such amusements as came in 
their way. Captain Burrard was 
very much in the house, and accom- 
panied them on more than one 
occasion to the theatres or the 
opera. Except that she was so 
preoccupied about her husband, it 
would certainly have struck Mrs 
Scallan as singular that Blanche 
displayed so little interest in the 
disclosure of her cousin's affairs, 
repressing her mother's confidence 
with even more than her usual 
brusqueness. If he was married, 
she said, when her mother began 
to talk about the matter, as no 
doubt he was, what was the good 
of saying so over and over again 1 
Things would all come right sooner 
or later, and there was no need to 
make a fuss about them. She had 
no mind to play the part of a jilted 
lover, and did not want condolence 
from her or anybody else. 

One afternoon when Blanche, 
who had driven out to do some 
shopping by herself, was still ab- 
sent, Mr Scallan returned home. 
His wife did not know of his arrival 
at first, for she had not expected 
him so soon, and he had let himself 
in with his latch-key ; but happen- 
ing to go down to his room she 
found it locked. After a little 
hesitation she knocked gently, and 
presently he came to the door and 
opened it. He was engaged in 
sorting papers, with which the 
table was covered, and a heap of 



cinders in the grate showed that he 
had been burning some. His small 
restless eyes seemed more restless 
than ever. "I wanted to see you," 
he said; ''you are just in time. 
Bring me in some sherry and bis- 
cuits, there's a good girl ; but don't 
let any one know I am here." 

She got these and brought them 
in to him. "i^ow," he said, turn- 
ing to his work of sorting the papers 
on the table, " I am nearly ready. 
I must clear out sharp, old woman, 
and that's a fact. I have held on 
quite as long as was safe. I want 
you to pack my bag for me ; put a 
clean shirt or two in, and bring it 
down here. Are any of the ser- 
vants about 1 " 

"They have just gone to their 
tea?" 

"Well, take care that none of 
them see what you are after. 
Where is Blanche?" 

" She went out immediately 
after lunch. She said she had 
some shopping to do. She sent the 
carriage home a long time ago, 
with a message that she would 
walk back. I cannot think why 
she has not returned." 

" Well, look sharp and bring the 
bag down, but mind you take care 
that no one sees you." And as 
sh^ went out he locked the door 
again. 

When Mrs Scallan returned to 
the room she did not at first recog- 
nise her husband, and thought for 
an instant some one else had taken 
his place, so disguised was he by a 
big moustache, whiskers, and beard 
of dark brown, and a pair of col- 
oured spectacles, which, however, 
did not conceal the sparkle of his 
restless little eyes. 

"That's right," he said, as he 
took the bag from her; "now 
Molly, my dear, I must be ofi^, 
sharp." 

" Oh, William ! " cried the poor 
woman, "something dreadful has 
happened, I can see." 



188 



TJie Private Secretary, —Part X, 



[Aug. 



^' Something awkward might 
happen, Molly, if I didn't keep 
out of the way for a bit, but I 
expect to be safe enough by to- 
morrow morning." 

"But where are you going, 
William 1 Is it very far away 1 " 
She understood the implied danger, 
and although full of distress at his 
desertion of her, the desire that he 
should escape prevented her from 
thinking much about herself. '' Is 
it something very bad, "William, 
this time ? '' she added. 

"The less said about it the 
better, my girl," said Scallan. " I 
made a good fight of it as long as I 
could ; but things beat me at last, 
and I was driven to do more than I 
intended. That's about the long 
and short of it. It's easy enough 
to be honest when everything goes 
smooth, and no one can say I have 
not been a free man with my 
money, and done many a liberal 
thing for others in my time; but 
damn it, there's no generosity left 
in the world, I think. Well, I am 
about played out now, I guess. I 
played for high stakes, and if 
things had gone well you nor any 
one else would ever have heard 
a word against me. And there's 
many a man, I'll be bound, who 
holds his head high enough now, 
who has done just as bad, and worse, 
only he has never be( n found out ; 
that makes all the difference, don't 
you seel They will paint me black 
enough now, I don't doubt. There 
will be enough heard about me in a 
day or two, I expect." 

** And where do you mean to go 
to first, William % You may trust 
me, surely. I won't give a hint, even 
to Blanche, if you tell me not to." 

** Well, I think it's just as well 
not to expose you to temptation, 
my dear," replied Scallan, a gleam 
of cunning replacing the look of 
desperation his face had just worn. 
" A secret's only a secret as long as 
it's not known, you see." 



The prospect of being left alone 
to face the coming storm rose awful 
before the poor wife, but she still 
thought first of her husband, and 
did not express her anxiety further 
than to say — " I suppose you can't 
take Blanche and me with you, 
William 1 " She knew it was use- 
less to ask it, and her way of speak- 
ing showed this, but she could not 
help asking. 

"I think I shall do better with- 
out encumbrances just at present," 
he replied, more mildly than she 
expected. "But," he continued , 
looking at his watch, "it is time 
for me to be off." He took a couple 
more glasses of wine, and then 
opening the door cautiously, he 
said, "Good-bye, Molly dear, you 
shall come and join me as soon as I 
see the way to manage it," and gave 
her as much of a kiss as the hairy 
state of his disguise permitted. 
" Blast these summer evenings," he 
said, peering into the hall, " it never 
grows dark in this infernal country ! 
just look out, will you, and make 
sure that no one is about." 

Mrs Scallan stole cautiously into 
the hall. It was now getting dusk 
in the house, although the long 
summer evening had not yet come 
to an end. She looked up the stair- 
case and into the dining-room. A 
man had been laying the table for 
dinner, but was now gone down- 
stairs. Tae way seemed clear, and 
she made a sign to her husband, 
who emerged from his room, and, 
opening the hall door, noiselessly- 
slunk out, bag in hand. His wife 
closed it after him ; then returning 
to his room, she restored the sherry 
decanter to its place in the side- 
board of the dining-room, and put 
away the biscuits ; and taking the 
wine-glass up-stairs to her room, 
wrapped in her handkerchief^ lest 
she should meet anybody, washed 
it and brought it down again to the 
dining-room. 

As she came out again into the 



1881.] 



The Private Secretary. — Part X, 



189 



hall she met the footman coming 
up from the basement, and had the 
courage to ask him if Mr Scallan 
had been home that afternoon, and 
the man's manner showed that he 
had no suspicion of what had passed. 
'*I do not think he will dine at 
home to-day," she said. " We will 
not wait dinner for him; we will 
have it as soon as Miss Scallan 
comes home." 

But the dinner -hour came and 



Blanche had not returned. Mrs 
Scallan sat trembling in the draw- 
ing-room, at the window, looking 
out into the twilight for her 
daughter. So long as her husband 
had to be thought of her courage had 
been sustained ; but now that there 
remained nothing to do but to await 
the catastrophe his flight announced, 
she felt utterly broken down, and 
the absence of her daughter seemed 
to portend some fresh disaster. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 



The night was fine, and as the 
Dover mail-boat cut her way across 
the calm water, its smooth surface 
was broken only by the passing 
farrow made by the steamer^s pas- 
sage. But the air passed through 
so quickly was cool and fresh, and 
one of the passengers, wrapping his 
own shawl tenderly round his com- 
panion, presently left her side and 
began walking up and down the 
deck to keep himself warm. He 
was a young man, and as he trod 
the deck, his light step seemed to 
indicate a joyous mood. As well 
it might, for he was carrying off his 
lady-love on a h<Jneymoon trip. 
Now and again he would return to 
his companion, who wore a thick 
veil, although it was night, and 
seemed by her shrinking manner 
to shun observation. 

The vessel, although not crowded, 
was full, and his seat had now been 
taken by a lady, so that private 
conversation with his companion 
was impracticable, and the young 
man went forward and leant over 
the bow to look at Calais lights, 
now rapidly nearing. 

Another passenger also came for- 
ward and stood beside him. 

" A splendid passage," observed 
this gentleman presently, between 
the puffs of his cigar. *' We shall 
do it in one-twenty, there or there- 
abouts." 



The familiar tones of the voice 
made the other turn round to look 
at the speaker, and he was himself 
immediately recognised. ^'Clifford! 
by all that's wonderful," cried Bur- 
rard — for it was he — "this is in- 
deed a coincidence ! 1 fancied that 
I saw some one very like you 
coming on board, but I was rather 
preoccupied, so did not follow up 
the idea. And you not alone 
either. If I don't mistake, you 
are travelling with your " 

" My wife 1 Yes ; we are going 
to make a little trip on the Con- 
tinent." 

** Just my case," replied Burrard. 
'' I was married to-day, and we are 
bound on our honeymoon trip." 

Clifford made an involuntary 
start, a suspicion of the truth flash- 
ing on his mind. 

"A curious coincidence, isn't 
it?" continued Burrard. "Al- 
though our cases are not exactly 
similar, for yours is hardly a wed- 
ding-tour, whereas I was married 
only a few hours ago. We must 
go a little way back, I take it, for 
the date of your wedding-day 1 " 

Clifford nodded assent. He bad 
scarcely realised yet all that was 
implied in his friend's news; but 
Hilda's reputation must be saved 
at any cost. 

" Yes," resumed the other, " you 
have been a sly fellow. No offence 



190 



The Private Secretary. — Part X. 



[Aug. 



between friends, you know, — in 
fact, I am bound to speak without 
reserve, because my fortunes have 
become involved in yours, don't 
you seel So long as I believed 
you were going to make a match 
with your cousin, it would have 
been an unwarrantable breach of 
friendship to interfere. But since 
you chose to be so Qaixotic as to 
throw away your fortune, why 
should not I step in and console 
the poor little cousin as well as 
another man 1 So here we are, and 
no grudge on either side, I hope. 
I knew you were a man who did 
not care about money, but I must 
say I did not think you were quite 
so disinterested as to throw away 
five thousand a-year. But what 
won't a man do when there is a 
woman in the case ? However, the 
thing is done, and there is no good 
in saying anything more about it. 
I suppose you have looked the thing 
in the face, and see your way to get 
along without Blanche's money. Mrs 
Scallan tells me you have saved 
ever so much already, and I am 
sure I hope you have. But now 
won't you introduce me to the lady 
in form 1 You know I have never 
had the opportunity of speaking to 
her, although I have had the plea- 
sure of seeing her." 

Clifford muttered something about 
his wife being unwell. 

"Well, then," said Burrard, 
" come and see my little girl, she 
is sitting somewhere over there; 
you owe her an apology for treating 
her so cavalierly, but we neither of 
us bear you any grudge, I assure 
you. Come along, she will be de- 
lighted to see you." And passing 
his arm through Clifford's, Burrard 
led him to the bench where Blanche 
was seated. 

The bride saluted him more cor- 
dially and unaffectedly than she 
had ever done before. " Fancy 
you, of all men in the world," she 



said, holding out her hand, *' being 
so romantic ! But I compliment 
you on your taste, sir. Having 
seen my rival, I can understand 
how you came to treat me so 
badly." 

" But you have been a little 
romantic too, my fair cousin, have 
you not]" replied Clifford, who 
had now recovered his composure ; 
'* this is surely a very sudden 
affair?" 

" Would you have had Blanche 
pining away for a twelvemonth 
because forsaken by her faithless 
swain ? " said Burrard. " But you 
are right there, my boy, it was 
sudden, although not quite in 
Gretna Green form. I gave the 
required notice according to law, 
and we were married before the 
registrar this morning, and mamma 
and papa would know of it only 
this evening. The society journals 
will have something to write about 
for a week or two, won't they? 
This little thing," — patting his 
wife's cheek playfully, — " will be 
quite a celebrity for a time." 

" But surely," said Clifford, " this 
is the part of Lydia Languish re- 
versed. I should have thought that 
both parties beibg so unexception- 
able, beauty and wealth allied to 
rank and fashion, there would be 
no need to make a secret about it." 

Blanche was sitting on a camp- 
stool on the middle of the upper 
deck, so that the party could talk 
thus freely without being over- 
heard. 

*' True, my dear boy," replied 
Burrard, '* there was no need for 
concealment here ; there was no 
loss of a large fortune involved in 
the discovery. I don't want to 
imply for a moment that was your 
case," he added hastily, noticing 
that Clifford made an involuntary 
start, '^ but still there were reasons 
why we should want to get the 
matter out of hand quickly; and 



1881.] 



The Private Secretary. — Part X, 



191 



this" — again patting Blanche on the 
cheek — ^'is such a romantic child 
that she much prefeis having it so. 
Anyhow the thing is done. We 
were married this morning at a 
registry office, and here we are on 
our wedding trip; and we must 
make the most of it, mustn't we, 
my loYel for I have to he hack 
again and at work in a few days. 
Business with me must follow close 
on the steps of pleasure." 

"But whereahouts is Mrs Clif- 
ford % " said Blanche. " You must 
introduce me again, Eohert, for the 
last was not a regular introduction, 
you know." Blanche's manner was 
more hearty and natural than it 
had ever heen hefore. 

Just then a movement among the 
passengers announced that the 
steamer was nearing its destination, 
and Clifford, evading the proposal 
to introduce his cousin to Hilda, 
said he must go to look after his 
packages. '' Well, then," said 
Burrani, as they parted, '' we must 
try to get the same carriage on to 
Paris: there will he sure to he a 
crash ; let us keep together." 

Clifford was making off towards 
the quarter-deck where he had left 
Hilda, but, suddenly taming, took 
Burrard's arm, saying, ''Just one 
word with you. I gathered from 
what you said just now that it 
was supposed I had heen secretly 
married in order to evade the con- 
ditions on which I have been hold- 
ing the property. Is that really 
believed of me?" 

"Well, my dear fellow, I did 
not put it that way, but since you 
ask me, of course I can't help say- 
ing that it is not apparent what 
other motive should have prompted 
the mystery. For, as I understand, 
the lady is very charming and all 
that, so that there is no apparent 
reason for concealment as far as 
she is concerned. But all this, of 
course, is supposing that you are 

VOL. CZXX. — ^NO. DCCXC. 



married. There's no mistake about 
that, is there % " he asked; noticing 
the other's hesitation. " You are 
married, ain't you ! Blanche told 
it me as a positive fact." 

"Blanche, of course, is always 
quite accurate," said Clifford, feeling 
that Hilda must be saved at all 
hazards. 

"Thank you, that is very satis- 
factory," replied the other, although 
not feeling quite so assured as he 
professed himself, " because if you 
had not been married, but had 
merely been playing the Don Juan 
with us, I should have made rather 
a mess of it. Murder will out, no 
doubt, and your marriage must have 
been known before long : the only 
objection I see to your line of 
action, as a matter of business, is 
that your income ought properly to 
have become my wife's from the day 
on which your marriage took place, 
so that if the secret had been kept 
much longer, there might have been 
an awkward accumulation of arrears 
to be refunded. However, I don't 
want on her part to be exacting." 

" Do not be under the smallest 
apprehension on that score, Bur- 
rard; the bulk of the estate goes 
to my cousin, according to the pro- 
visions of the will, and she shall be 
paid all that is due to her to the 
utteimost farthing. I give you my 
word for that." 

"Thanks, my dear fellow ; I never 
doubted your good faith for one 
moment. I knew everything would 
be all square where you a^e con- 
cerned. But here we are close 
alongside of the pier; we must 
look after our respective brides." 

Clifford had not responded to his 
friend's invitation to share a car- 
riage with him, knowing that Hilda, 
who had in vain tried to conceal 
from him the feeling of shame 
which possessed her throughout 
th'e journey, would prefer the soli- 
tude afforded by the company of 



192 



Tlie Private Secretary, — Part X, 



[Aug, 



strangers for fellow -passengers to 
travelling with people who knew 
her ; so finding one compartment 
of the train a&eady occupied hy 
four travellers, he secured the two 
remaining seats. The other per- 
sons appeared to he all foreigners, 
and did not attempt to open con- 
versation, which was just what he 
knew Hilda would wish ; and after 
seeing that she was made comfort- 
able in her place, he too remained 
silent. This was not a time for 
commonplaces, and Hilda would 
not like him to he demonstrative : 
throughout the journey so far she 
had shrunk from any attempt on 
his part to treat her as a bride. 

Soon the strangers composed 
themselves to sleep : whether she 
was sleeping he could not tell, but, 
for his part, he had sufficient food 
for thought to keep him wide 
awake. At the first moment of 
making the discovery of his cousin's 
presence on board the steamer, he 
had not realised all the conse- 
quences involved in it, but now 
these came up clear before him. 
From the first moment of starting, 
indeed, the joy had not been un- 
alloyed. He had gained his object, 
and was bearing off the woman of 
his heart in search of love and 
happiness ; but already he had dis- 
covered that happiness is not al- 
ways to be got merely by seeking 
after it. Already his happiness in 
having gained Hilda had a flaw in 
it, due, as his conscience told him, 
to a deviation from the path of 
honour. He did not repent of 
having won a sacrifice from Hilda, 
believing that his fidelity and scru- 
pulous respect would soon place 
her at her ease ; but ever since the 
day when she consented to be his, 
his conscience continued to re- 
proach him for having deceived 
her. Yet the first sin against the 
woman he had won was as nothing 
compared with that he was about 



to perpetrate, if, after this discovery, 
he still pursued the course whither 
they were now tending; and he 
knew Hilda well enough to feel 
sure that she would never forgive 
him, should she discover that he 
had betrayed her under false pre- 
tences. Yet this was what he was 
now about to do; for the revela- 
tion just given made it clear that 
the sacrifice he had demanded of 
her was now no longer necessary. 
His cousin having been the first to 
break the conditions of the will, he 
was set free to marry Hilda. It 
could not even be alleged that he 
was in any way to blame for the 
mistake into which Blanche had 
fallen in supposing him to have 
married Hilda already. She had 
evidently jumped to a conclusion 
which a little inquiry and patience 
would have shown to be unfounded. 
He had thus recovered his fortune 
through his cousin's precipitancy. 
But this hardly cost him a thought ; 
and, indeed, he had distinctly re- 
nounced the fortune thus regained 
by his declaration to Burrard. It 
was the difficulty of deciding how- 
to act towards the gentle, trustful 
creature sitting motionless beside 
him, all unconscious of this hidden 
crisis in the plot enacting round 
her, that possessed and harassed 
him. At one moment his duty 
would seem clear, but at the next, 
doubts would unite with inclination 
to restrain him. For this step back- 
wards, which might have been so 
easy, was it not rendered almost 
impossible after what he told Bur- 
rard, leading him and his cousin 
to believe that he was married al- 
ready ? After such a statement his 
denial of it would not be be- 
lie vel^ by anybody. To separate 
now from Hilda till they could be 
married would not therefore save 
her reputation. That could only be 
preserved by persisting in the false- 
hood. And now, his conscience 



1881.] 



Tlie Private Secretary, — Part X. 



193 



once aroused, he reflected with re- 
morse that if he had not won her 
to this step of flying with him hj 
his importanity, hacked up hy the 
deception of withholding from her 
knowledge the reserved conditions 
of the will, he would not have heen 
driven into trying to shield her hy 
a lie. Thus one dereliction from 
the truth had led on to another. 
And his feelings now aroused to 
an almost morhid pitch of intensity, 
the arguments hy which he had 
endeayoured to win her to his pur- 
pose now seemed to him disingenu- 
ons sophistry. Kor, he thought, 
did they impose on her. She has 
yielded, not to the force of my 
arguments, hut under a nohle im- 
pulse of self-sacrifice. But I can 
see that the greatness of that sacri- 
fice is weighing her down. She is 
not like a trustful, happy hride; 
time for reflection has hrought 
shame and dismay ; the tremhling 
bride who met me last night at the 
station was a different woman from 
the trustful lover I parted from four 
days ago. She shrinks from my 
caresses ; and if she tries to appear 
more at ease than she really feels, 
it is to save me from distress. Her 
mind still dwells on what she 
deems the sacrifice I have made in 
preferring her love to money. How 
different is her aspect from that of 
Blanche ! Blanche on her wed- 
ding-day has become quite unaf- 
fected and gay; my bride is sad 
and distraught. 

Then he began to revolve in his 
mind a plan for separating himself 
from Hilda at the end of their 
journey, and finding some iemale 
companion who might accompany 
her back to England. H^ would 
follow them^ and then, as soon as 
the fact of Blanche's marriage was 
established, he could wed Hilda. 
There might be some delay in mak- 
ing sure of the fact, if the marriage 
was a secret one ; but what would 



be the delay of a few days, or even 
a few weeks, if followed hy a happy 
life ! But must, then, all this pre- 
paration and planning come to 
nought] Hilda had heen won, and 
was now sitting by his side — ^his 
love, his bride, his own, his wife in 
soul and will ; and was he to give 
her up at the last moment, and 
their union to be suhject to all the 
chances and uncertainties awaiting 
them in the unknown future ? And 
after all, the sacrifice would not 
suffice to save her reputation. She 
had been seen travelling with him 
by those most interested in pub- 
lishing the fact, and he had himself 
declared that they were living toge- 
ther. Thus his own falsehood made 
retreat useless. No ; he was only per- 
plexing himself with what he flat- 
tered himself to be excess of scruple. 
Then his conscience whispered to 
him, why not put the case to Hilda 
herself, and let her decide? But 
he could not make up his mind to 
do this, knowing in his heart what 
her answer would be. He hardly 
knew indeed how eagerly she would 
have welcomed the chance of escape 
even now, although he could not 
but be sensible of her obvious de- 
jection. Hilda's feelings, in truth, 
had undergone a great change since 
the day of their last meeting. At 
first, after consenting to his pro- 
posal, she had been borne up by 
the sense of self-sacrifice, so sweet 
to many a woman's heart ; and the 
preparations for her journey, and 
the business of setting her home in 
order, had scarcely left time for 
thinking about herself. But now, 
on this long journey, which gave 
no opportunity for distraction by 
conversation, but left her thoughts 
free to pursue their own course, all 
her distrust of herself, and shame 
at her conduct, came back again in 
full force. Had her lover claimed 
her at once when first she promised 
to yield to him, the shock would 



194 



The Private Secretary. — Part X, 



[Aug. 



have been leas; but all this cere- 
mony and preparation of a mock 
wedding-tour, although deyised, as 
she knew, out of consideration for 
her, added to the sense of degra- 
dation which possessed her, now 
worked up to a morbid state. At 
Dover, and again at Calais, she had 
been on the point of appealing to 
her companion to leave her to her- 
self to find her way back alone ; 
what to do then she knew not — all 
she desired was to escape. But a 
feeling of pity for him restrained 
her. She knew what a blow to 
him would be such an avowal. 
Just now fatigue and mental weari- 



ness made her feel more resigned, 
although not more happy ; but the 
least suspicion of what was passing 
in her lover's mind would have 
brought back all her energies to act 
for her preservation. If he doubted, 
she was saved. 

But although unable to resolve 
his doubts himself, as passion and 
conscience alternately possessed 
him, he did not impart them to 
her, finally excusing himself men- 
tally under the plea that, in her 
over-sensitive state, she could not 
take a just view of the position. 
Meanwhile the train sped on its 
course. 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 



Burrard and his bride, looking 
about like the other passengers on 
Calais pier for seats in the train, 
had found a vacant coupe, and were 
congratulating themselves on their 
good luck, — for although there had 
been plenty of room in the English 
train, the French one as usual was 
closely packed. But just as they 
were about to start, the door was 
opened, and a solitary traveller, 
who had stayed on board till the 
last, and was now trying to find a 
place, was pushed in by the con- 
ductor, and in another moment the 
train started. 

" This is a bore," whispered Bur- 
rard to his bride : " serves mo right 
for not having telegraphed to secure 
a eaupS. However, he is a foreigner, 
so he won't understand what we 
say. You may make love to me as 
much as you like." 

In the noise made by the train, 
confidential remarks of this sort, if 
made in a low voice, with faces in 
close proximity, could not be heard 
by a third party. 

" An Englishman, I should say," 
replied Blanche, ** from his way of 
coming in without making a bow." 

'^That is because he has been 



living among us, and caught our 
ways. He's a Frenchman, 1*11 bet 
you a pair of gloves against a kiss ; 
only a Frenchman would muffle 
himself up in that way on such a 
night." And, indeed, the third 
occupant of the coupe wore a large 
hood over his head, as if it were 
winter, which left little visible of 
his face but a large moustache and 
beard, and eyes concealed by col- 
oured spectacles. 

"Do you know, my girl," said 
Burrard presently to Blanche, as 
he played with her gloved hand in 
a patronising way, "I don't feel 
altogether sure about your cousin 
being married after all." 

"Kot after what he said just 
now ? Why, he confessed it plain- 

ly." 

" Yes, to you ; and so he did to 
me. But you should have seen 
how he spoke the first time. The 
lady was here, you see, and so he 
was bound to say it. How did 
you come to know about it, my 
child f I have always forgotten to 
ask you that 1" 

"I' judged by appearances, of 
course. Mamma and I smpriBed 
Eobert and the lady in his cham- 



1881.] 



The Frioate Secretary, — Part X. 



195 



bera one day, you know. Mamma 
thought just what you did, and so 
did I at first; but it was quite 
plain she was his wife/' 

«* Why quite plain?" 

" From their manner of behav- 
ing, of course." 

'^ What was their manner like ? 
Anything like this?" And Bur- 
rard, passing one hand round his 
bride's waist, still fondling her 
hand with the other, rested his 
head coolly on her shoulder. 

" For shame, Cyril ; that person 
will see you if you don't take care. 
!No; Eobert behaved much more 
prettily than you do, I can tell 
you, sir. But there was no mis- 
take about it." 

** I wish there may not be, my 
girl, or we shall bave made a mess 
of it by being in such a hurry. 
But what's done can't be undone, 
can it ? Particularly the little cere- 
mony we have gone through to- 
day." And Borrard, leaning back, 
recalled the conversation he had had 
with Clifford, and recollected with 
satisfaction the distinctness with 
which the latter had renounced his 
fortune. There could be no mis- 
take about that part of the con- 
versation, at any rate. Thus mus- 
ing, he soon fell asleep, and Blanche 
shortly followed his example. 

The short night was over when 
they reached Amiens, and the 
young couple left their carriages, 
like the other passengers, to get 
some coffee and bread at the bufi'et. 
There they encountered Clifford, 
but there was not time to ex- 
change many words, for he was 
hurrying with some refreshments 
to Hilda, who declined to leave her 
carriage. On returning to their 
eoupSy the young couple found their 
fellow traveller still sitting there. 

"Kot going to take anything, 
sir?" said Burrard to him, as he 
passed by him to his own seat. 
"There is not much time to be 
lost." 



"Thank you," said the other, 
"but I am not hungry." 

Burrard started as the stranger 
spoke, and looked at Blanche, who 
seemed, like him, surprised. The 
similarity of the voice to one they 
knew had struck them both; but 
they said nothing, and the journey 
was resumed in silence. Burrard 
kept awake, but Blanche fell asleep 
again, and so did the stranger, sit- 
ting forward in an uneasy attitude 
with nodding head. 

The train was n earing Paris when 
Burrard woke Blanche, and whis- 
pered to her to bend forward and 
look at the traveller. 

As his head rubbed against the 
cushion, the dark wig became dis- 
placed, showing the red natural 
hair beneath. The artificial whis- 
ker and moustache also were dis- 
arranged and out of place. 

"Queer Street, evidently," ob- 
served Burrard in a low voice, after 
scanning the features of the sleep- 
ing man. " I say, Blanche," he 
whispered presently, "did you 
know anything of this?" 

Blanche blushed as she said 
" no," and conscious that she was 
blushing, added, " I knew that my 
father was speculating, of course; 
that's his business. I am afraid 
something must have happened. 
I am sure I don't know what it is." 

And indeed the hints of what 
Mr Scallan had confided to his 
wife, which that lady had from 
time to time passed on to her 
daughter, had siways been impart- 
ed with the proviso that Blanche 
was not to be supposed to know 
anything about the matter, and 
that terrible consequences would 
befall her mother if Mr Scallan 
found out that she was divulging 
what he told her. So that the 
young lady was able to satisfy her 
conscience with the reservation that 
these had been privileged communi- 
cations. "I knew that papa was 
mixed up in speculations, and 



196 



The Private Secretary, — Part X, 



[Aug. 



things of that sort, of course," she 
again whispered, as Burrard did 
not at once reply ; " but he never 
told me anything about them. I 
always thought he was as rich 
as CroBSUs. I am sure he always 
made mamma and me live as if he 
wera Something dreadful must 
have happened. What can it be 1 " 
And Blanche looked at her husband 
as if he could penetrate the mystery, 
thinking how fortunate it was that 
the marriage had taken place before 
the crash had come which her 
father's appearance portended. 

Burrard looked at his bride with 
a shrewd smile, which made her 
wince. 

"Well, my little one," he said 
presently, in a good-tempered tone, 
" however the case may stand, we 
must make the best of it. This 
respectable gentleman with the 
false hair was the pillar on which 
I intended to build up my fortune, 
and the pillar is obviously smashed 
to bits. So that, instead of making 
a fortune, I shall have to live upon 
yours, my girl. It is just as well our 
friend Clifford has gone aad made 
an ass of himself. I meant you to 
have been a rich lady, but we must 
face our poverty now, and do the 
best we can on five thousand a-year. 
But perhaps in the fulness of time 
my little girl will be a countess, 
and then she wiU be consoled." 

And Blanche, as he spake these 
reassuring words, thought to herself 
that when she did become a coun- 
tess, she should not be so afraid of 
her husband as she felt herself to 
be DOW. 

Here the conversation dropped; 
and indeed their discovery was of a 
kind to give both of them food for 
silent reflection. The train was 
now approaching Paris. Mr Scal- 
lan was still sleeping uneasily. 
Burrard gave him a nudge, and 
he started with an appearance of 
alarm, but as soon as he compre- 
hended where he was, he began to 



arrange his hair, now altogether 
awry. While he was thus engaged, 
Burrard stooped down, and opening 
the dressing-bag which was at his 
feet, took out a looking-glass, and 
handed it to him. "I doubt if 
you will be able to manage it with- 
out the use of this, sir," he said ; 
"at any rate, your friends will 
recognise you, Mr Scallan." 

Mr Scallan took the glass me- 
chanically, and holding it in his 
hand, gazed stupidly at the other, 
as if unable to say anything. 

" You had better look sharp, sir," 
continued Burrard; "we shall be 
there in a minute, and you certainly 
won't pass muster as you are now." 

Scallan made no answer, but ap- 
plied himself busily to adjust his 
false hair. Burrard too remained 
silent; he did not well know 
what to say. Presently he ob- 
served, "I would put that hood 
down, if I were you. It is just as 
well not to overdo it. And you 
might cut those moustaches short- 
er with advantage, likewise the 
beard. Here is a pair of scissors.*' 

Scallan took the scissors without 
raising objection, and began to do 
as the other recommended. He 
had just returned the implement 
when the train ran into the ter- 
minus. 

" It's a bad business, I suppose ? " 
said Burrard, as Scallan, bag in 
hand, was making ready to leave 
the train so soon as it should stop. 
" A sensation piece, I conclude, to 
end like this in a transformation 
scene % " 

" I am afraid things are in rather 
a bad way with me just now," re- 
plied Scallan, meekly. " I was ob- 
liged to leave very hurriedly, and 
I dare say, in my absence, my con- 
duct will be misrepresented. I was 
very unlucky, sir, very unlucky ; 
and then I had to do with a pack 
of infernal rogues, who have got off 
scot-free, and be damned to them." 

There never yet was a man in 



1881.] 



The Private Secretary, — Part X. 



197 



Scallan's position who was not, 
according to his own account, the 
Tictim of circumstances, or of otheis 
more to hlame than himself. 

*^l8 it a case of Bow Street, or 
warrants, or anything of that sorti'' 
asked Burrard, significantly. 

" Well, sir, things might be liable 
to misconception, and that's a fact ; 
and so I think I had better keep 
out of the way for a bit. But I 
hope they will come round all right 
in time. I only want time, sir, — I 
only want time." 

His nervous, terror-stricken man- 
ner, however, sufficiently belied 
the confidence expressed in words. 
Never a prepossessing man, he 
looked now exactly what he was, a 
rogue trying to escape from justice. 
The discovery of his identity had 
completely unnerved him. He 
stood up now, bag in hand, with 
his other hand on the door, ready 
to spring out as soon as the carriage 
should stop. 

"From the way in which you 
put it,'' said Burrard, *' I am afraid 
it must be a bad job, and that I 
cannot be of any help to you, other- 
wise 1 should feel bound to do what 
I could in your behalf. And I 
don't want to trouble you with 
domestic affairs when you are so 
preoccupied, but you ought to know 
one thing. Haven't you noticed 
who my companion is — Mrs Bur- 
rard? Blanche, my own, you had 
better say good-bye to your papa." 
Impressed by the grotesqueness of 
the situation, he could not help lay- 
ing a sarcastic stress on the last 
word. 

Scallan turned round to look at 
his daughter, who leant towards 
him with a flushed face; but he 
was too flurried to say anything 
appropriate. " I thought it might 
be her," he mumbled to Burrard. 
'' I am glad you have found a good 
husband, my dear," he added, to his 
daughter. " I wish you every hap- 
piness, I am sure." 



" You are not going to stay long 
in Paris, I suppose ? " said Burrard. 
"Where are you bound? Your 
plans are quite safe with me, you 
know." 

"Well, my plans are not quite 
settled yet, sir, but I will write and 
let you know as soon as ever I can. 
I am a most unfortunate man, I 
do assure you, — a most unfortunate 
man. I must take precautions, and 
keep quiet for a bit." 

Just then the train came to a 
stop, and Scallan hastened to open 
the door. " One moment," said 
Burrard, detaining him just as he 
was stepping out j " how about Mrs 
Scallan ? Have you left her alone 
in London? All alone?" he re- 
peated, as the other assented by a 
nod. " But of course you did not 
know that Blanche was coming 
away. And she is not too well pro- 
vided with cash, I suppose ? " 

" She has some money, I believe, 
sir, and I hope to send her more 
shortly. But really I must not 
stay," and releasing himself from 
the other's hold, Scallan stepped 
out and hurried down the platform, 
looking neither to right nor left. 

I have put my foot into it, and 
no mistake, was Burrard's mental 
reflection, as he watched the retreat- 
ing figure. This comes of being 
impulsive. To think that ruffian 
should be my father-in-law ! Well, 
it is no good crying over spilt milk, 
and he won't be able to claim the 
relationship for some time, which 
is a comfort. "Blanche, my girl," 
he said, turning to his wife, as they 
stood waiting for a porter to carry 
their things, " have you realised the 
fact that your mamma is left all 
alone in London?" 

" Poor mamma ! " said Blanche, 
consigning her dressing-bag to a 
porter, — " that is very sad." 

" It throws our arrangements 
out too." 

"How so, Cyril dear?" 

" Why, we must cut our trip 



193 



The Private Secretary, — Part X 



[Ang. 



Abort, and go back and look after 
ber." 

"Must we, CyriH" asked bis 
bride, and a look of disappoint- 
ment passed oyer ber pretty face. 

** Wby of course, my cbild, we 
must. We couldn't leave tbe poor 
lady all alone witb tbis terrible 
trouble coming on ber. We must 
go and fetcb ber away out of tbe 
row at any rate. You wouldn't 
wisb us to do less tban tbat, would 
your* 

" Of course I sbouldn't, Cyril 
dear," but ber face did not at once 
assume a cbeerful expression. To 
say notbing of baving to give up 
tbe promised Continental tour witb 
tbe man of ber cboice, tbe prospect 
wbicb seemed now to present itself 
of ber motber making one in tbeir 
new bousebold, was not a pleasur- 
able one. 

" I knew you would tbink witb 
me about it It's a bore to bave to 
go back again so soon, but it can't 
be belped. However, we must make 
tbe best of wbat time we bave. 
Come along." 

Tbe process of awaiting tbe de- 
livery of tbe baggage at a Paris 
terminus is never an agreeable one, 
especially after a nigbt's travelling. 
Few women look to advantage 
under sucb conditions; but al- 
tbougb Blancbe owed some part 
of ber appearance to tbe secrete of 
tbe toilet, tbe dark eyes, tbe clear 
complexion, and tbe ricb outlines 
of a fine figure were graces wbicb 
were independent of an artificial 
setting. Few women stood less in 
need of adventitious aids to beauty. 
Sbe bad slept well, and was but 
little fatigued. Seen even under 
present disadvantages in tbe crowd- 
ed salle d'attente^ a parcel in eacb 
band — ^for tbey bad more packages 
tban Burrard could carry bimself — 
Blancbe migbt still attract attention 
by ber striking beauty. Hilda's 
loveliness too, owing so mucb as 
it did to sweetness and intelligence 



of expression, was not of a kind to 
wane from a nigbt's exposure. But 
sbe was tired, and sat on a bencb, 
waiting till tbe luggage sbould be 
brougbt out, wbile CUfiford, stand- 
ing before ber, sbielded her from 
tbe observation wbicb be could see 
sbe dreaded to encounter. 

As be stood tbus, fondly watcb- 
ing ber, bis mind still a prey to 
doubt and irresolution, tbe expres- 
sion of frigbtened modesty em- 
bodied in tbe pose of tbe sbrinking 
figure toucbed bis beart witb pity. 
Even now, be tbougbt, it is not 
too late to act an bonest, unselfisb 
part, and preserve for ber tbe 
purity sbe covets. A word of ex- 
planation, and sbe may yet be 
saved. 

Just tben tbe doors of tbe salle 
were tbrown open, and tbe porters 
from tbe inner ball entered witb 
tbe luggage. Clifibrd pressed for- 
ward witb tbe otber passengers to 
claim bis boxes : tbe decision be- 
tween rigbt and wrong must still 
be deferred for a few moments 
longer. 

Tbere was tbe usual scene of 
bustle and confusion, and tbe por- 
ters, boxes on sboulder, asked if 
tbey sbould put tbem into a cab. 
Clifford, standing witb Hilda by 
bis side, on tbe outer steps of tbe 
station, nodded assent. But s(ill 
be did not move forward. Even 
now it is not too late to separate 
tbeir tbings ; be migbt explain mat- 
ters as tbey drove away. 

Hilda berself looked at bim witb 
surprise, as be stood tbus irresolute, 
unable to make up bis mind. 

"Here you are again, Clifford 
my boy," cried a voice from bebind, 
and Burrard witb Blancbe came 
out of tbe waiting-room, followed 
by tbeir porters, " We are clear of 
tbis pandemonium at last. I bope 
Madame is none tbe worse for ber 
journey. You must introduce me 
now, Clifford, or perbaps I may be 
allowed to introduce myself; You 



1881.] 



Tlie Private Secretary. — Part X. 



199 



must have often heard of me, I am 
sure, Mrs Clifford," he continued, 
taking off his hat and bowing; 
''and I have had the pleasure of 
seeing yon more than once before, 
although under different circum- 
stances. We shall become better 
acquainted soon, I hope. My little 
'wife, too, is dying to know more of 
you. Come here, Blanche, and 
shake hands with Mrs Clifford." 
And so saying, he took his bride, 
who was just behind him, by the 
arm, and pushed her forward, and 
the ladies exchanged salutations. 

'' Clifford has been a sad sly fel- 
low," he added, "but he has made 
it all square now, and we can all of 
us understand that his gain has 
been well worth the sacrifice of 
worldly goods he has made. Are 
you going to stay long in Paris % " 

Clifford answered for her that 
their plans were not settled, but that 
they thought their stay would be 
short 

" So must ours be. We must go 
back very soon. Business will take 
us back — deuced unpleasant busi- 



ness it is, too. You are sure to 
hear all about it in good time. 
After all we shan't lose much. I 
expect Paris will be infernally hot. 
Just feel what it is already at this 
time of the morning. But we 
ought to be starting. Where are 
you stopping?" 

Clifford mentioned the name of 
his hotel. 

"Ah, that is a snug little place, 
but quiet. We have got a suite of 
rooms at the ' Grand/ A bridal 
tour, you see; we are obliged to do 
things in style. Now an old mar- 
ried couple like you can do as you 
please. Good-bye. I hope we shall 
meet again soon." And Burrard 
ascending into the carriage after his 
wife, the two drove away. 

** An old married couple ! " said 
Clifford to himself, repeating the 
other's words. " What is the use 
of over - refinements and conceal- 
ments now ? The die is cast. Oar 
carriage is ready, Hilda, dearest," 
he said, aloud; and handing her into 
the ^acre, he took his place beside 
her, and they too drove off together. 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 



From the outset of his tour, 
Clifford had reason for misgiv- 
ings that his new life would not 
furnish the perfect happiness he 
had expected from it. Hilda 
was his, but she was not the 
same Hilda as of old. She was 
sweet-tempered and gentle as ever, 
but she had lost her cheerful spirits 
and buoyancy of manner. What 
distressed him stiU more, she evi- 
dently was keenly sensible of what 
she felt to be the degradation of 
her position. This was manifested, 
among other ways, in her disinclina- 
tion .to appear with him in public. 
When, after the first day or two 
following their arrival, during which 
they took their meals in their own 
apartments, Clifford proposed that 



they should dine at the table d^hdte 
by way of change, she consented 
with such evident reluctance that 
he did not press it, and they con- 
tinued to take their meals in pri- 
vate. When one day, after spend- 
ing the morning in sight-seeing, he 
proposed that they should turn into 
a restaurant for luncheon, Hilda 
entered with evident embarrass- 
ment, and sought the most retired 
corner, and as long as they remained 
there was plainly ill at ease. Her 
feelings had, in fact, been worked 
up into a state of morbid sensi- 
bility. The woman who formerly, 
fearless in her own purity, would 
venture alone on errands of mercy 
into any part of London, now 
shrank from observation wherever 



200 



The Private Secretary, — Part X 



[Aug. 



she went ; and even in the re- 
cesses of a private box at the opera, 
sat nervous and trembling as id the 
whole house was watching her. 
The unusual langour of her manner 
might perhaps be ascribed to the 
heat of the weather. Paris was 
very hot, and this was a bad time 
for paying a first visit to it. After 
a few days, which Clifford had 
found very different from what he 
expected, he proposed that they 
should leave it ; and they moved 
to a watering-place on the coast 
of Normandy. 

Here they found a new climate. 
The sea-breeze was cool and refresh- 
ing, and some rain came at last 
to break the long drought Clif- 
ford, for his part, had so far ab- 
stained from any attempt at remon- 
strance, or even openly noticing the 
change of manner in his companion 
which so distressed him, rightly 
judging that, if challenged on this 
score, Hilda might make some pro- 
testation of unhappiness which 
would only serve to intensify still 
more strongly the feeling that 
possessed her. He felt that it 
would be better to avoid an explan- 
ation. He trusted to time to re- 
move this impression ; and mean- 
while his manner to her was as 
tender and considerate as that of 
any young husband could be. But 
the old playfulness between them 
was not renewed; and he recognised, 
with bitter self-reproach, that the 
Hilda he had won was something 
different from the Hilda of the old 
days in the Alexandra Mansions — 
sweet, gentle, and graceful as ever, 
indeed, but without the bright 
spirit and piqiiante manner which 
he used to find so charming. Time, 
however, he thought, would set 
things right ; and if she did show 
a want of interest in their way of 
life, after all this was perhaps not 
surprising, for they were completely 
cut off from all old pursuits and 
associations. Clifford had not left 



his address, that he might not be 
troubled with letters, and wishing 
to put off the inevitable settlement 
with his trustees until after the 
honeymoon. 

Perhaps one reason why he did 
not seek an explanation with Hilda, 
and endeavour to restore her self- 
possession by inducing her to aban- 
don her reserve, arose from an un- 
easy feeling of uncertainty how far 
her depression might not be due to 
a suspicion of his deception. He 
dreaded to ask how much she knew. 
He had told her only that the 
retention of his property was con- 
ditional on his marrying his cousin. 
She did not know — at least, not 
from him — that he became absolved 
from that condition if his cousin, 
before a certain time, married some 
one else. Could she have guessed 
that such was the case 9 If so, she 
must know his perfidy, which would 
appear to her blacker than it really 
deserved to be regarded. It was 
strange, he thought, that she had 
never once referred to the meeting 
with Burrard and Blanche, although 
she might have inferred that the 
marriage of his cousin was likely 
in some way to affect his fortunes. 
But, then, she had not manifested 
any interest about anything, and 
Clifford, for obvious reasons, had 
not brought up the subject. Thus 
he, too, had his cause for anxiety 
and reservation. This wedding 
tour, as he called it, was not atten- 
ded by that mutual confidence, that 
free exchange of thought and feel- 
ing, which he had so ardently looked 
forward to. It seemed to him that 
Hilda was now hardly nearer to him 
than in the old days when she was 
his paid servant. But she bright- 
ened up after the move to Xor- 
mandy. The gay scene and the 
fresh air of Etreville could not but 
act on her spirits, although she 
avoided the parts most frequented. 
Excursions about the country or 
walks by the sea were evidently 



1881.] 



The Private Secretary, — Fart JT. 



201 



pleasanter to lier than the crowded 
streets of sultry Paris. Perhaps, 
after all, it was the weather which 
had made her so unlike herself. 

They had not heen more than 
two or three days at Etreville when 
Hilda received the proposal that 
they should dine at the table dhdte 
of one of the great hotels hy the 
sea without any of the repugnance 
which she had shown at Paris to 
such appearances in public ; and as 
they set oif to walk there from 
their lodgings, Clifford thought that 
she had never looked more charm- 
ing. Hilda's beauty was most seen 
in her expressioD, her winning 
smile and lovely eyes. There was 
not the dazzling complexion or the 
swelling outline of his cousin, but, 
like every woman, she gained by 
being well dressed, and the time 
spent at Paris had been turned to 
good account in this respect, in 
the good taste with which her slight 
graceful figure was robed. 

Eut they had hardly entered the 
dining-room, and taken tlieir places 
at table, when Hilda suddenly rose 
in evident confusion, and left the 
room. Cliiford hastened to follow 
her. He supposed she must be ill, 
and led her out to a bench in the 
now empty veranda facing the sea. 
It was some time before she would 
tell him what was the matter. Just 
as she was sitting down, she had 
seen on the other side of the table 
a lady and gentleman, friends of 
her uncle and aunt, whom she had 
known when she was with them at 
Nice. 

**Well," said Cliiford, "surely 
they did not do anything to distress 
your' 

" I don't think they saw me be- 
fore I got away." 

" But supposing they had seen 
you, what then? You would in- 
troduce me as your husband." 

" Oh, Eobert, I couldn't do that. 
Supposing they found out after- 
wards that I was deceiving them?" 



** How are they to find it out, I 
should like to know 1 People don't 
take their marriage lines about with 
them to produce wherever they go. 
Come, Hilda dearest, this is really 
carrying the matter too far. You 
must make a beginning some time 
of taking the position you have a 
right to assume. After all, it won't 
be for long." 

" What do you mean ? " she asked 
eagerly, lifting iip her head and 
looking him in the face. 

'* I mean," he said, not. without 
confusion, " that if you once brace 
yourself up to make the effort, it 
will soon cease to be difficult. You 
must make a beginning some time 
or other, my darling : why not make 
it at once ] " 

"I am very sorry," said poor 
Hilda, seeing the expression of dis- 
tress on his face ; " I will try to do 
better. I am afraid I am a great 
trouble to you, after all, now you 
have got me." She said this with 
a tearful smile that went to his 
heart. 

" That's right, my love," he re- 
plied, professing a gaiety he did 
not feelj "put a bold face on it, 
and the thing will soon come to 
be easy enough. Now, then, shall 
we go in again and make another 
try]" 

But Hilda looked so alarmed at 
this that he was fain to give way, 
and they strolled back to their 
lodgings along the now deserted 
promenade, and dined there by 
themselves. The meal was not a 
cheerful one. Clifford was per- 
plexed how to deal with this ten- 
der creature, and Hilda, thinking 
he was annoyed with her, sat silent 
and distressed. 

" Can you spare me for three 
days ? " he asked her next morning. 
" I should like to run over to Eng- 
land for a few hours' business. The 
boat for Lagrace will leave in half 
an hour, and I can catch the steamer 



202 



The Private Secretary. — Part X, 



[Aug. 



to Southampton. I will be back on 
the third day — that is, if you will 
promise to come over to Lagrace and 
n^eet the steamer as it comes in." 

Hilda assented at once. In truth, 
the prospect of being alone wa9, in 
the present state of her nerves, 
rather a relief than otherwise. 
Clifford did not like to tell her 
not to mope in his absence, know- 
ing well that the injunction would 
be useless. So packing his bag 
hastily, and bidding her a tender 
farewell, he set off to the pier where 
the little ferry-boat was lying with 
her steam up. It was a comfort to 
him, as the boat steamed off, to see 
a handkerchief waved by a figure 
standing in their balcony, in return 
for the salutation which he had 
wafted from the paddle-box. At 
any rate, she had not yet shut her- 
self up in her room, but he rightly 
judged that she would remain in 
seclusion during his absence. 

They had purposely chosen a 
house where no English were stay- 
ing, and had no acquaintances in 
it. Hilda kept her rooms all day, 
and only came out in the late even- 
ing to take a walk on the sands, at 
that hour bare of visitors, who were 
all collected at the casino. But on 
the third afternoon of his absence 
she summoned up courage to take 
her passage in the little steamer 
which plied across the bay to La- 
grace, and was standing on the 
wharf of that place when the Eng- 
lish steamer came in. 

She could soon make out Clifford 
among the passengers. But who is 
that with him — a child whom he is 
holding up in his arms above the 
bulwarks] It is Arthur, waving 
his hat, and wild with excitement 
and delight at the journey and the 
prospect of meeting his sister again. 
So this was the business which had 
taken Eobert away ! The look of 
gratitude which she cast to him 
while she embraced her little bro- 
ther amply repaid him for his 



trouble. For the first time since 
they had left England she looked 
bright and happy. 

" How quick you have been ! " 
she said. "How could you man- 
age the journey in so short a time 9 
Or did Arthur come to meet you?" 

" No ; I went up to Eoehampton, 
didn't I, Arthur 1 And there was 
barely time for him to put on his 
best clothes — Miss Pasco would in- 
sist on his travelling in his best 
clothes — and pack his box. We 
couldn't even stop to get some- 
thing to eat; and if Miss Pasco 
had not given us some sandwiches 
and cake to bring with us, we 
should have been in a bad way, 
shouldn't we, Arthur) And by 
the way, here is Miss Pasco's report 
on the young man. She desired 
her best compliments and congratu- 
lations, — but I said the congratula- 
tions were due to me, not to Hilda, 
didn't I, Arthur? — and says your 
little brother has been a particularly 
naughty little boy, eh, Arthur 1" 
Thus rattling on as they walked 
along the quay to the ferry-boat, 
he put into Hilda's hands a letter 
from the governess, addressed to 
Mrs Clifford. It was the first time 
Hilda had received a letter with 
that name, although it was upon 
all her boxes. She blushed, but 
speedily recovered her composure, 
and while they were crossing the 
bay on the way back to Etreville, 
she read Miss Pasco's letter. 

Mr Clifford's announcement of 
his marriage to her was the first she 
had received of it, said the school- 
mistress, as she had never seen it 
in the papers ; but she would take 
the liberty of saying that the news 
was no surprise to her — she had 
guessed what was coming when she 
saw Hilda and Mr Clifford together 
at her house. And she hoped she 
might be permitted to send her 
warm congratulations on Hilda's 
union to one who appeared to 
unite ample means with a truly 



1881.] 



The Private Secretary, — Part X, 



203 



noble heart and disinterested be- 
nevolence of disposition. The rest 
of the letter was about Arthur. 
Clifford winced a little when Hilda 
gave him the letter to read. He 
had never felt less noble or disin- 
terested than since he had won 
Hilda to his purpose; but he felt 
rewarded for having thus broken 
up their seclusion by bringing 
Arthur over, in the change his 
presence wrought on Hilda, and 
willingly surrendered the pleasure 
of having her all to himself on see- 
ing how efficacious was the cure. 
They dined that evening as usual 
in private, but seeing from their 
balcony the lights of the great 
building by the shore, and hearing 
the sound of music, Arthur natur- 
ally expressed a wish to see the 
wonders of the place ; and the re- 
sult was that they were soon seated 
in the veranda of the casino^ eat- 
ing ices, and looking at the dancers 
within. This was a great step. 
The next day Hilda was ready to 



accompany the other two in an ex- 
cursion all over the little town and 
adjacent suburb, and later to go 
down to the beach in the full glare 
of noonday at its most crowded 
time, to see Arthur take his bath, 
Clifford giving him his first swim- 
ming lesson. And while enjoying 
the child's happiness for its own 
sake, Clifford continually congratu- 
lated himself on his move. Hilda 
was now more like her old self than 
she had been at any time since he 
first made his proposal to her. Her 
brother's presence seemed to protect 
her against herself; and although 
she still felt bitterly the nature of 
the deception that she was practis- 
ing, and dreaded the scorn which 
she thought the people among 
whom she was mingling would 
manifest, did they know the truth 
about her, still she became more 
tranquil as she recognised that in 
Arthur's presence there was no 
cause for suspicion, — that his com- 
ing had made her secret safe. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 



Clifford meanwhile had abundant 
food for reflection. He had taken 
the opportunity of his visit to Lon- 
don to go to his chambers and get 
firom the porter the letters which 
had arrived in his absence. Among 
them was one from the solicitors to 
the trustees. They had been given 
to understand, so the letter ran, that 
he had contracted marriage — a secret 
marriage — he being still under the 
age of twenty- six, and his cousin, 
Miss Blanche Scallan, being still 
unmarried. They conceived it was 
needless to remind him of the con- 
ditions of the trust under which the 
income of the property had hitherto 
been paid to him; and without wish- 
ing to dwell on his conduct to the 
trustees, and the difficult position 
in which he had placed them by 
this concealment — supposing, as 



the writers had every reason to 
believe, their information was cor- 
rect — they persuaded themselves 
that it would be his wish now to 
make them all the reparation in 
his power, by placing them at once 
in full possession of the facts, with- 
out reservation, in order to enable 
them to proceed to execute the pro- 
visions of the trust. In the mean- 
time, until his reply should be be- 
fore them, they hoped he would 
refrain from drawing any more funds 
from the proceeds of the estate al- 
ready made over to his bankers, 
although it was their desire to 
meet his wishes on this head so 
far as might be consistent with 
their duty. 

There was also a private letter 
from Mr Bryant, the trustee with 
whom principally he had been used 



204 



The Private Secretary. — Part X, 



[Aug. 



to have dealings, and with whom, 
as has been already mentioned, he 
had always been on very friendly 
terms. The old gentleman wrote 
in evident anxiety and alarm at 
the information, which, he said, 
having regard to the source whence 
it came to him, he could not doubt 
was substantially true. He had 
always anticipated the possibility 
of his young friend declining to 
carry out that part of the condi- 
tions of the wUl which required 
him to marry his cousin, if she, for 
her part, was ready to take him for 
a husband; but in that case the 
course which the writer's previous 
knowledge of his young friend 
woidd have led him to expect 
Clifford to pursue, was that he 
would have remained unmarried 
until the time when, on the ter- 
mination of the trust, the trustees 
would be relieved of all further 
responsibility, and he would be at 
liberty to marry whom he pleased. 
" But," continued the writer, " if 
you have been so rash and head- 
strong as to contract marriage 
already — and our information for- 
bids us to doubt that you have 
done so — I sbould at least have 
expected that you would have felt 
it due in common fairness to the 
trustees to make them at once ac- 
quainted with the fact. Repos- 
ing implicit confidence in your 
honour, they have omitted to take 
the precautions which would in 
ordinary cases have been quite 
justifiable, and now find them- 
selves liable for all the moneys 
which, believing you to be single, 
they may have illegally overpaid 
you out of the estate." But the 
writer put it to him tbat he should 
now at once make what reparation 
was in his power by a full and 
unreserved confession of the facts, 
and especially the date of his 
marriage, so that the trustees 
might at least know the extent 
of their liabilities to the parties 



rightfully entitled to the income of 
the estate. As the case stood, 
Clifford's flight, without leaving 
any address, could not but make 
him, Mr Bryant, put the worst 
construction on the case; but if 
this letter came into his hands, 
he implored him to relieve his 
anxiety — an anxiety increased by 
the absence of the other trustee — 
without a day's delay. 

These letters opened Clifford's 
eyes fully for the first time to the 
folly of his course. It had seemed 
so easy to carry out when planning 
it. But although the complication 
had arisen from the unexpected meet- 
ing with Burrard and his cousin, 
he ought to have known that dif- 
ficulties would certainly arise sooner 
or later in pursuing it. He had in- 
tended to relinquish the bulk of 
the estate from the day of his de- 
parture, retaining only the one-fifth, 
to which he would be entitled in 
any case so long as he remained un- 
married. He had taken it for 
granted that the other parties inter- 
ested in the trust would have been 
ready to accept the terms thus 
offered without asking questions; 
but it had not occurred to him to 
consider whether the trustees and 
their legal adviser would agree to 
such an arrangement without in- 
quiry. At any rate, the plan was 
entirely upset by the meeting with 
his cousin and Burrard, from whom, 
he could not doubt, the trustees 
had received their information. As 
it turned out, his cousin's marriage 
before his own left him still legally 
entitled to the property; but the 
promise which he had made to 
Burrard was binding on him in 
honour, and he must part with all 
but the small residue which would 
have come to him even if Blanche 
had not married. But how to 
secure this residue without com- 
promising Hilda? Now he felt 
how foolish he had been in not bind- 
ing Burrard to secrecy for a time. 



1881.] 



The Private Secretary, — Part X. 



205 



as the piice for wliicli he might 
have oflfered the property which he 
bad promised unconditionally. But 
the case standing as it did, having 
acted from first to last under the 
influence of an infatuation, blinding 
him to the consequences, and hav- 
ing placed himself in a false position 
by his secret flight, how could he 
preserve Hilda's secret, and yet 
deal fairly by the trustees ? That 
secret must be preserved at any 
cost To no one but himseK must 
she be known as other than his wife. 
Yet the trustees must have a plain 
answer to their question j but there 
seemed the possibility of getting 
out of the difficulty if he deferred 
giving it until he had made Hilda 
his wife. To marry her had been his 
purpose from the first moment of 
his encountering Burrard ; but com- 
mon prudence, now beginning to 
return, enjoined that he should 
make sure of Burrard's marriage to 
his cousin before effecting his own. 
He had so far only Burrard's state- 
ment for it, and it was not ap- 
parent why, if they really were 
married, there should be any se- 
cret about it. But if Blanche 
were actually married, then he 
might marry Hilda, retaining the 
fraction of the estate which he in- 
tended to keep as his portion, and 
making a gift to Blanche of the rest, 
in accordance with his declaration 
to Burrard. ' It would be necessary 
perhaps to make a partial revelation 
of the facts to Burrard ; but secrecy 
could be secured by letting him un- 
derstand, as the price of the secret, 
that the surrender of the property 
was a voluntary act. Accordingly, 
soon after his arrival in Paris, he 
bad sent instructions to his lawyers 
— not those who managed the 
affairs of the trust, but a firm whom 
be employed occasionally on the 
business arising out of his charitable 
schemes — to ascertain if possible 
the fact of the marriage. Burrard's 
reference to a registry-office had 



given a clue; and the very day 
after his return to France with 
Arthur, the anxieties and self-re- 
proaches aroused by these letters 
abating largely from the joy afforded 
by witnessing the happy change in 
Hilda, he received a reply from his 
agents. They had found out the 
registry-office at which Burrard's 
marriage had taken place on the 
day of the meeting at Calais. It 
was not, as Clifford had suggested, 
in the East-end of London, but that 
of St George's, Hanover Square, 
the district in which Burrard's 
chambers were situated. They for- 
warded a certified copy of the re- 
cord. 

Immediately on receiving this, 
Clifford replied to the solicitors of 
the trustees. The case, he said, 
was not as they had been led to 
suppose, and there was no real 
cause for anxiety about the appro- 
priation of the trust-income. But 
as it would be difficult to make 
the matter clear in writing, he 
would shortly return to England 
and explain his position to them in 
person. Meantime he would ask 
them to reserve judgment on his 
conduct, while he for his part would 
refrain from drawing any more 
money. 

And now to make Hilda really 
his wife. Next morning, as they 
were sitting together by the sea, 
Arthur and some French children 
with whom he had struck up an 
acquaintance playing on the sands 
in front of them, he asked her 
whether she could spare him for 
a time. He had some business 
which would take him away, this 
time to Eouen. It was a tedious 
business, although not very difficult; 
it would oc3upy him for a whole 
month. As he spoke he watched 
with delight the effect of his pro- 
posal. Hitherto Hilda had appeared 
so much absorbed by the sense of 
degradation involved in her position 
as to be even less of his equal than 



206 



The Private Secretary. — Part X, 



[Aug. 



in the old days \?hen she was his 
paid servant. She might have 
been the captive of his bow and 
spear, brought into his tent by 
force of arms, rather than the fond 
companion and helpmate which he 
had looked to find her. Her affec- 
tion had been receptive only, the 
more noticeable from the very fact 
that, out of consideration for her, 
he had been even more scrupulously 
attentive than a young husband 
would ordinarily be in the first days 
of the honeymoon. There was a 
want of interest about him and his 
doings, a sort of passiveness iu her 
manner, which was in striking con- 
trast to what it used to be, and 
Clifford had recognised with bitter 
disappointment that the new Hilda 
he had won was something different 
from the Hilda he had hoped to 
win. But since her little brother's 
arrival, she had become again more 
like her own self; and now, when 
he proposed to go away, he noticed 
with delight that there was no 
longer the same sort of listless resig- 
nation as she had manifested on 
the last occasion. The announce- 
ment created real distress. Must 
he go away for a whole month? 
His presence was evidently dear to 
her. Then he explained the plan 
which he had been working out in 
the night, but without telling her 
what the object of it was. She 
and Arthur were not to stay here, 
but to move to Trecamp. They 
could travel together as far as the 
road station for that place on the 
way to Eouen, where they should 
join him as soon as his arrange- 
ments were made. Hilda evidently 
had no suspicion of the purpose he 
had in view ; but she knew his 
fondness for making plans, and the 
completeness with which he worked 
out his arrangements, usually cul- 
minating in something for the good 
of others. And so accepting his 
assurance that she would approve 



of what was now proposed, as soon 
as the affair was completed, she 
readily agreed to the suggestion 
that they should start that day, 
and they returned to their lodgings 
to pack up. Although she was so 
much happier now, the place was 
connected in her mind with painful 
associations, and she was glad to 
leave it. Arthur showed concern 
at the prospect of quitting the sea- 
shore delights of this gayest of 
French watering-places, but the 
child was not used to be consulted 
or to have his own way, and was 
speedily reconciled to the change 
on being told that they were going 
to make a journey by railway which 
would bring them to the sea again 
at the end of it. 

They started early in the after- 
noon. The junction reached, the 
brother and sister alighted to change 
for the diligence to Trecamp, while 
Clifford continued his journey. He 
could not accompany them to their 
destination, as every day was of 
consequence. " FareweU, for a 
month," he said, as the train 
started again, noting with mingled 
pain and rapture Hilda's evident 
distress at the parting ; ^' the Hotel 
d' Albion will be my address, and 
the Hotel d'Angleterre will be 
yours, till you get lodgings : it is 
quiet and comfortable, says the 
guide-book. I shall write every 
day, and you will write sometimes, 
I know." 

He did more than write. At the 
end of a week, as Hilda and Arthur 
were walking on the beach toge- 
ther, they descried him coming to- 
wards them. He had taken a re- 
turn-ticket for the day, he said, 
and finding they were not at their 
lodgings, had come to seek them 
here. '* I made sure you would 
be in the quietest part of the place, 
so came straightway here. I saw 
you long before you saw me." 

" But then you were looking for 



1881.] 



Tlie Private Secretary, — Part X, 



207 



us," said Hilda, as he drew her to 
hiiiL " How could I suppose that 
you would come yourself to-day, 
when I had a letter from you this 
morning with not a word about 
it?" 

"It was a sudden resolve," he 
said. "I could not keep away 
longer. You did not give me cred- 
it for so much ardour, did you? 
You were quite resigned to be 
without me, were you not % " And 
the protestations Clifford thus 
sought for shot forth in Hilda's 
glances. " Such a train, too ! " he 
continued; "three hours coming, 
and ever so many miles to drive at 
the end of it." 

"And " 

" It will be nearly as long going 
back? Yes," he answered to the 
mute inquiry of her eyes; "I 
must go Imck again this afternoon. 
I am bound to be for a whole 
month a hand, fide resident at 
Eouen in order to fulfil my work 
there. Let us go and get some- 
thing to eat — not at your lodgings. 
Let us try the Casino ; it will be 
empty at this hour." So they had 
a repast together, and then the 
brother and sister took a walk with 
him over the place, passing by 
their lodgings, which Clifford 
would not enter. "I am merely 
a stray visitor," he said, casting a 
fond glance at Hilda — '*a casual 
acquaintance." 

Two more such visits he paid. 
As he took leave of Hilda and Ar- 
thur the last time, he seemed radi- 
ant with joy. " 'Tis our last good- 
bye from this place," he said. " One 
week more, and then this month of 
years will come to an end at last. 
Kemember, you start by this very 
train. I shall meet you at the sta- 
tion. But you will go on writing 
every day to the last ; I have noth- 
ing but your letters to live upon." 
And when their train arrived at 
Bouen he was waiting for them, 

VOL. CXXX. — NO. DCCXO. 



and they drove off together to a 
hotel — not the one he had given as 
his address, but a small one in the 
outskirts of the city, near to the 
terminus. 

As they alighted, Hilda noticed 
that the directions on her boxes 
had been altered. In place of the 
labels— "Mrs Robert Clifford"— 
which he had himself written with 
conspicuous plainness when they 
started from England, there were 
new ones on each box, with simply 
the initials " H. R., Voyageuse \ 
Rouen," superimposed on the old 
ones. He must have effected the 
change while they were waiting at 
the station; she had noticed that 
he was very busy helping the por- 
ters with the boxes. 

Hilda looked at him, surprised 
and anxious. What could it mean ? 
Clifford returned her glance with a 
fond smile. 

" You may be sure I did it on 
purpose," he said. " I am going 
to leave you here alone with Arthur 
for the night. We are still to be 
separated for a little longer. Trust 
me, I do not keep away an hour 
longer than I can help. And I 
have an injunction to add. You 
will have to sign a paper on arriv- 
ing at the hotel — every traveller 
has to do it ; it is for the informa- 
tion of the police. You will have 
to state your name. Give it this 
once as Hilda Raid, spinster, tra- 
velling with your brother, a little 
boy* Now I must be off. Don't 
mind doing this for once ; trust me 
I have a good reason. And now, 
will you be ready for me if I call 
to take you for a drive to-morrow 
morning at eight ? There is a great 
deal to be seen here, as no one 
should know better than I do, who 
have got to know every stone in the 
place during this weary month, and 
we can never do it aU on foot. And 
now, good night for the last time," 

Next morning Clifford arrived at 
o 



208 



Tlie Private Secretary. — Part X. 



[Aug. 



the appointed hour, and foand 
Hilda and Arthur both waiting 
for him at the hotel door. 

"That's right, Arthur my boy," 
he said. "There is nothing like 
early rising. But I want to take 
Hilda out alone for this once. Do 
yon think you can manage to take 
care of yourself for an hour or so 
till we come back for you ? " And 
the elder ones drove off together. 

They drove into the middle of the 
town, and then Clifford proposed 
that they should alight and walk, 
and dismissed the fiacre. They 
turned down a street. Presently 
he stopped before a small building. 
"This is a church worth seeing," 
he said, "although not for any in- 
trinsic beauty. But it is worth 
seeing. It is the English Church ; 
come in and look at it." They en- 
tered the little building. 

It was empty save for a couple 
of people — a man and a woman, 
standing by the altar rails, who 
looked to be waiting for something, 
and on seeing them enter passed 
into the vestry. 

Something in Clifford's manner 
made Hilda stop. Coupling the 
scene with the mysterious proceed- 
ings of the last few weeks, a sus- 
picion of what was intended sud- 
denly flashed upon her. She looked 
at him, silently but with parted 
lips, in a flutter of doubt and ex- 
pectation. 

"Yes, my dearest one," he said, 
in answer to her look; "cannot 
you guess my secret now] Come 
and let us be married." 

" But, Eobert," she answered, in 
hurried but faltering accents, " how 
can this be, if it is to bring you to 
ruin and beggary? You yourself 
have told me that it would cause 
this. No, dear Robert," she added, 
standing irresolute, as he strove to 
lead her forward; "this is noble 
and generous, like yourself, but I 
must not let you sacrifice yourself 
for me in this way." 



Every word atabbed Clifford. 
Even now he was on the point of 
throwing himself, so to speak, at 
her feet, to tell her the truth, and 
that he was now at last trying to 
atone for the wrong he had done 
her. But a feeling of dread re- 
strained him, lest her love and ad- 
miration should turn to contempt. 

" Do not be afraid," he said ; " I 
think I see a way out of the diffi- 
culty ; anyhow, I would rather lose 
everything than go on this way. I 
did you an injustice, my sweet one. 
I thought you would not mind it, 
and I find you do. I would rather 
be beggared outright than go on as 
I have been doing, seeing you pine 
away and droop before me. After 
all, we shall be beggars together. 
But it isn't a question of beggary ; 
never fear. There have been irregu- 
larities on the other side. I shall 
be able to compromise matters ; 
to rescue a trifle out of the fire. 
Come, my love, they are waiting 
for us," — and in effect the chaplain 
now came out of the vestry in his 
surplice, followed by the two at- 
tendants, — and Hilda allowed Clif- 
ford to lead her up to the altar, and 
make her his wife. 

" I was obliged, you see, to re- 
side here a full month," said Robert, 
as he led his wife away, and they 
walked down the street together. 
" I had also to make an affidavit 
that you were over one-and-twenty, 
although I had no evidence of the 
fact but your own words — and you 
don't look it, to-day, at any rate ; " 
and he turned to gaze fondly on tho 
happy woman clinging to his side. 
" Now we must go to the British 
Consul. This last ceremony was a 
mere form ; it is he alone who can 
marry us legally; but he made an 
appointment for nine o'clock, so I 
thought we might get the other 
done first." 

"And now," he said, as they 
came forth from the Consul's office, 
" for our wedding breakfast, of 



1881.] 



Tlie Private Secretary, — Part X. 



209 



which Arthur must partake. Here 
is a fiacre; let us drive hack and 
bring him away. I have taken 
rooms for us all at the Hotel 



d' Angle terre. Let us have one day 
to see the sights, and then start 
homewards ; there is husiness to he 
done, and our purse is running low." 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 



The day — the first really happy 
day which Clifford had known since 
Hilda had left England with him — 
was passed in seeing as much of 
the town and its famous buildings 
as could be managed in so short a 
time, and in the evening the party 
were resting in the gardens of St 
Ouen, eating ices to the music of a 
military hand — a form of recreation 
which Arthur, at any rate, found 
the most agreeahle part of the day's 
proceedings. There had been some 
fetes at Eouen, and a temporary 
restaurant had been estahlished in 
these gardens, now crowded with 
visitors, and as our party rose to 
leave, they had to thread their way 
in single tile among the little groups 
seated at the different tahles. Sud- 
denly Arthur gave an exclamation 
which made the other two turn 
round. " Papa ! " he cried, and 
ran to where a gentleman and lady 
were sitting among the company a 
few yards off. They were in fact 
Captain Reid and his hride. Eohert 
and Hilda could see Arthur speak- 
ing to his father, and pointing to 
where they were standing, hy way 
of explanation for his unexpected 
appearance ; and the Captain rising, 
they advanced to meet him. 

,"This is indeed an unexpected 
pleasure," said the Captain, with 
considerahle self-possession, and 
speaking as if his observations were 
graceful and appropriate. " Hilda, 
TSf^ love, let me introduce you to 
your new mamma," indicating hy 
a wave of the hand the lady seated 
at the tahle from which he had just 
risen. "This is Mr Clifford, my 
dear Mary Ann, who is my dear 
Hilda's husband." " 



Mrs Reid, a very fat lady, elderly- 
looking, and with an ohvious false 
front, gave a solemn bow at these 
introductions, but without getting 
up. 

** You will excuse my wife from 
rising," ohserved the Captain, "hut 
she is a little lame to-day ; we think 
it is from the weather and the sight- 
seeing. This is an unexpected pleas- 
ure. You told me that you were 
going abroad, but did not say where. 
Let us all he seated together. Won't 
you take something % I am having 
a little cognac-and-water, with ice, 
and Mrs Eeid is taking some too. 
And so you have hrought Arthur 
with you. That is very kind of 
you, I am sure. I thought prob- 
ahly you might leave him at the 
school, where he seemed to be so 
well taken care of. I hope he is a 
good hoy, and does not give you 
any trouhle." 

The Captain went on to explain 
that he and his bride were staying 
at Dieppe, and had come up to 
Eouen for a little change. 

Mrs Eeid had so far remained 
silent, turning her head gravely 
from one to the other as they spoke, 
in a manner that might indicate 
either critical intelligence or mental 
vacuity ; hut her face could not he 
seen distinctly in the evening light. 
The Captain having now stopped 
speaking, an awkward pause ensued 
in the conversation, and Clifford, 
by way of breaking it, asked her 
what she thought of Eouen, to 
which the lady replied that she 
liked it very much, but it was not 
so cheerful as Dieppe. Yes, the 
Captain and she had been over 
some of the churches, but she did 



210 



The Private Secretary. — Part X. 



[Aug. 



not care for tliem much ; it was so 
hot going about, and they were 
kept so dirty : she liked the music, 
and the ships on the river, they 
made the place look so cheerful. 
It reminded her of Hull. 

" Bat you don't think much of 
Hull, my dear," remonstrated the 
Captain. " You don't want to go 
back to Hull, I am sure ; " to which 
his wife replied that she didn't like 
being at Hull nearly so much as 
travelliug, but it was natural to talk 
about a place where you had lived 
all your life. " Have you ever been 
to Hull, sirl" she asked Clifford, 
who replied that he never had that 
pleasure. "It is a lively place," 
said Mrs Eeid. ^ Some people say 
it is dirty, but there's a deal of 
money made there. And then there 
is Scarborough not far off. I have 
never been to Scarborough myself, 
but many people used to go there 
from Hull, and I am told it's a 
beautiful place. It's on the sea, 
you know, and quite the fashion ; 
the Naples of the North they call 
it. Have you ever been to Naples 1 
No 1 No more haven't I." 

" But you shall go there if you 
fancy it, my dear," observed the 
Captain. "We might winter at 
Naples, you know. You would 
like Naples in winter, I am sure." 

" We have been stopping at Bou- 
logne," resumed the lady, who, now 
that she had made a beginning of 
speaking, found no dithculty in 
going on in her own way, ** and 
then we came on to Dieppe. D ieppe 
is a nice cheerful place, but I think 
I like Boulogne best; it is more 
home-like, you know. I like France 
very much. I like the music and 
the restaurants, but the sight-seeing 
and the heat make my leg painful, 
and all this French talking round 
me makes me quite giddy. I should 
never be able to travel in France 
alone, I am sure." 

" But you will have no need to 
travel alone, my dear," remonstrated 



the Captain ; " so why talk about 
it?" 

"Of course I know that, Wil- 
liam," said the lady, placidly. " I 
was only saying how I should feel 
if I were alone, which I know I 
am not." And she took a sip of the 
cognac-and-water, wagging her head 
slowly with an air of melancholy. 

" I don't see the good of talking 
about what isn't going to happen," 
pursued her husbaiid. "You 
shouldn't give way to these fancier, 
my dear. Mrs Eeid has had a 
good deal of trouble before her 
marriage," he added, by way of ex- 
planation to the company, " and it 
makes her low-spirited at times; 
but she will have no cause for 
anxiety in the future, now that she 
has somebody to take proper care 
of her." 

Silence succeeded, during which 
Mrs Reid sat as if in pleased con- 
templation of the feelings ascribed 
to her. Presently she said to 
Hilda, " Have you brought a maid 
with you, ma'am 1 No 1 No more 
haven't I. I had a maid in Lon- 
don, but the Captain thought it 
would be best for us to travel 
alone; so I gave her her month's 
wages, and discharged her." 

"And a month's board wages 
too," said the Captain. " It is al- 
ways well to be accurate in speak- 
ing on money matters, and I should 
not like Hilda and Mr Clifford to 
think you were not generous with 
your money, for you know you are, 
my dear." 

There was some more conversation 
of the same sort. It was illustra- 
tive of the Captain's easy disposi- 
tion that he asked his daughter 
no questions about herself or her 
movements, or about the cottage 
at Rainham. Clifford had written 
him a few lines before leaving 
England — at Hilda's request, for 
she could not bring herself to 
make a direct communication — 
telling him that his daughter had 



1881.] 



The Private Secretary, — Part X, 



211 



consented to share her lover's for- 
tunes, and that they were about 
to stsu-t immediately on their wed- 
ding trip ; also that Arthur would 
be his (Clififord's) charge for the 
future. And this announcement 
had snfQced to aUay any anxieties 
the Captain might have felt about 
the daughter whom he had de- 
serted. 

Clifford, now rising, suggested 
that it was time for his party to be 
oft They had to start next morn- 
ing for England. 

** We had better be going to our 
hotel, too, my dear, 1 think,'' said 
the Captain to his wife, "unless 
you would like a little more re- 
freshment. Don't hesitate to say so, 
if you would. If o more ? " he added, 
as the lady shook her head gravely 
to and fro ; " then I will settle our 
little account. There is one advan- 
tage of taking your meals in this 
way, that you go on the ready money 
principle. You pay your bill and 
have done with it." And calling 
the waiter, he paid for the refresh- 
ments consumed by himself and 
his wife, producing a purse with 
evident gratification that his daugh- 
ter should see that it was in his 
possession. 

They all left the gardens to- 
gether, Mrs Eeid leaning heavily 
on her husband's arm ; and as their 
roads home separated, Keid hailed 
a fiaerey although his hotel was 
close at hand, Mrs Eeid being, as 
he explained, not a good walker. 

"Well, Arthur, my boy," he 
said, as after helping his wife into 
the carriage, he turned to make his 
adieus to the others, "you are in 
luck, upon my word. I hope you 
-will be a good boy and deserve it. 
I need not say I wish you every 
happiness, Hilda, my dear, because 
I am sure you have secured it by 
marrying this excellent gentleman. 
And I flatter myself, Mr Cliflford, 
that you could not have chosen a 



better wife, though I say it who 
shouldn't. But who should know 
her good qualities better than her 
father ? I hope we shall meet again 
before long, but my plans are un- 
certain. 1 have to consider my 
duty as well as pleasure," — waving 
his hand in the direction of the 
occupant of the fiacre — " my dear 
Mary Ann requires care, and to 
have her life made cheerful and 
pleasant, so that I may be kept 
abroad longer than I expected. 
Good-bye. God bless you both." 

As the two young people walked 
back to their hotel, with Arthur by 
their side intent on the wonders of 
the streets, a feeling of natural re- 
serve restrained each of them from 
an exchange of confidences on the 
subject which then occupied their 
thoughts. Hilda's feelings were 
divided between a sense of shame 
at her father's conduct, and satis- 
faction that things should have 
turned out for him so much better 
than she had expected. He had 
married a poor foolish creature, but 
there was no reason to fear that 
they might not get on very well 
together. Clifford, for his part, 
was too full of his own happiness 
to be much concerned for the mo- 
ment with anything else. He had 
been watching all day, with secret 
delight, the change in his wife ; 
noting that the languor and dejec- 
tion which had caused him so much 
poignant distress had passed away, 
and that she was now once more 
the bright and radiant Hilda of old. 
But as he pressed the little hand 
that rested fondly on his arm, he 
thought, with amusement, how 
shrewdly he had guessed his father- 
in-law's character from the outset, 
and reflected with satisfaction that 
there were now no members of the 
family remaining, save the little 
brother whom he had adopted, to 
come between him and the woman 
who was now really his bride. 



212 



Tlie Land of Khemu 



[Aug. 



THE LAND OF K H E M I. 



PART III. — OLD AND NEW. 



The more one sees of the Land 
of Khemi, the more one is amazed 
at the extent of the remains which 
still exist awaiting a thorough ex- 
amination, and which lie so tempt- 
ingly strewn over the face of the 
country that it is almost an insult 
to them to leave them still unex- 
plored. The mounds and cliffs 
seem to be crying out, " Come and 
dig, — we contain all the records of 
the ages, we only conceal the pages 
of ancient history which are still 
dark, because no one will take the 
trouble to turn us over ; we can 
reveal the secrets of the little-kno'WTi 
period when the Shepherd -kings 
reigned over the land ; we can throw 
light upon the obscure annals of the 
pontifical monarchs of the twenty- 
first dynasty ; we can tell all about 
the seventh, eighth, ninth, and 
tenth dynasties, of which no record 
whatever has yet been found upon 
any of the monuments ; under these 
superincumbent masses of brickbats 
and potsherds, in rock-cut tombs and 
undiscovered mastabas, it is all writ- 
ten in imperishable letters, — only 
come and dig." It would be doing 
a gross injustice to the distinguish- 
ed body of Egyptologists, from 
ChampoUion down to Marie tte and 
Brugsch Pashas, to say that this 
appeal has not been responded to, 
and that in the great works at Sak- 
kara, and the excavations which 
have taken place, a wonderful effort 
has not been made ; but what strikes 
one is, that the task is so vast and 
endless — that in spite of all the 
time and money that have been al- 
ready spent, 80 much remains to be 
done. In fact one does not know 
which is most wonderful, what has 
been achieved, or what yet remains 
to be accomplished. The ordinary 



tourist who visits the Boulak Mu- 
seum and the Necropolis of Sak- 
kara, and then runs up to the First 
or Second Cataracts, is apt to think 
that the subject must be wellnigh 
exhausted ; and is scarcely conscious 
of the fact that the banks of the 
Nile from Cairo to Thebes, between 
which he glides so rapidly in a 
Cook's steamer, or, more tranquilly, 
journeys in a dahabeej/ay are strewn 
with the mounds of ancient cities, 
especially on the eastern shore, and 
that its cliffs are honeycombed with 
tombs. It was the knowledge of 
this fact which tempted us, in the 
most humble and unassuming man- 
ner, and without any pretensions 
to a knowledge of the subject, to 
try and see whether we could not 
discover something in a very small 
way, by poking about in a leisurely 
manner, from various centres on 
the banks of the river, where wo 
were kindly provided with accom- 
modation. Indeed, so far as our ex- 
perience went, the hospitality of the 
Government was only equalled by 
that of private friends. To one of 
these, learned in the lore of the 
ancient Egyptians, we were indebt- 
ed for our first attempt, and in fact 
for the encouragement of any latent 
tendency we possessed towards re- 
searches, which, when once the taste 
for them is fully developed, becomes 
one of the most absorbing and in- 
teresting of pursuits. 

About a hundred miles up the 
Nile from Cairo, the limestone cliffs 
of the Jebel Th6r on the east bank 
are cleft by a gorge at a spot known 
to the natives as Hay bee, near which 
there is a small hamlet of hovels, a 
grove of young date-trees, and the 
remains of a very ancient pier, 
which, in the days when there was 



1881.] 

an important town and fortress at 
the mouth of the gorge, projected 
into the river. Near the stones 
that still mark its site we moored 
our bark, which was nothing more 
or less than a common village 
boat, in which we had crossed from 
the opposite bank in company with 
our erudite friend on archaeological 
researches bent. We had given 
notice of our projected visit the day 
before, and the sheikh of the neigh- 
bouring village, with a dozen or 
more of its male inhabitants, were 
on the bank awaiting our arrival. 
As soon as we got through the date- 
grove we came upon the mounds 
of an ancient town, whose name, 
as found in the hieroglyphics, was 
Isembheb. Scrambling over these, 
with eyes eagerly scanning the dS- 
hria for coins, heads, and other 
relics, we followed our guides to a 
projecting shoulder of the cliff, be- 
yond which they said there was a 
cave ; but we had no sooner reach- 
ed the brow, than we were arrested 
by the remarkable view which burst 
upon us. The gorge had widened 
into an amphitheatre surrounded 
by limestone cliffs, which bore the 
marks of having been extensively 
quarried both in modern and an- 
cient times, the trenches and cut- 
tings increasing the quaint pictur- 
eequeness of the natural formation. 
Immediately to our left, and rising 
oat of the mound on which we 
stood, was a cliff, partly faced and 
partly crowned with brick to a 
height of fifty feet, and about a 
hundred yards broad, the massive 
construction of crude brick pre- 
senting quite an imposing appear- 
ance. In other directions there 
were fragments of similar buildings 
' and walls, the whole suggesting the 
idea that in former years a fortress 
of considerable dimensions had been 
erected here to guard the entrance 
of the pass to the river. From the 
heights on which we stood, the 
view of these masses of masonry 



Part 111.— Old and New, 



213 



crowning the mounds and cliffs, 
together with the quarried preci- 
pices and the sharp outline of the 
ranges of desert mountain beyond, 
with the placid Nile, lined with 
palm-groves, sweeping beneath us, 
was striking in the extreme. When 
we had feasted our eyes upon it we 
descended to the cave, the entrance 
to which we were disappointed to 
find was so choked with sand that 
it was with the greatest diJfficulty 
one of the Arabs squeezed himself 
into the bowels of the earth, where 
he stood every chance of being suf- 
focated. On these occasions they 
always go in feet first, not merely 
in order to get as much air as pos- 
sible, but because the passages are 
often so narrow and choked as to 
prevent their turning round. He 
came to the surface in a few mo- 
ments, saying that the passage was 
blocked ; so we sent to the village 
for some mattocks, and went mean- 
while to examine another cave. 
The entrance to this was a little 
larger, but it presented more diffi- 
culties of excavation on account of 
the masses of rock by which it was 
encased. I managed to crawl in a 
short distance, feet first, but all 
progress was almost immediately 
blocked by a number of sarcophagi 
piled one upon the other. The lid 
of one was broken, and I poked my 
foot into it in the dark. There was 
something so very "uncanny " in the 
soft feeling of the mummy against 
it, that I drew it back with great 
alacrity. It was impossible to get 
the mummy out without a great 
expenditure of time and labour, as 
though the crack in the lid was big 
enough to allow of my foot passing 
in, the mummy could only have 
been got out piecemeal. Moreover, 
there is no particular interest at- 
taching to fragments of a mummy. 
There were possibly ornaments in 
the sarcophagus, but its position 
made it impossible to grub into its 
interior; so we abandoned it for 



2U 



The Land of Khemi, 



[Aug. 



the present, lest by spending too 
much time over it we might lose 
something that was more interest- 
ing, and proceeded to a third cave 
which was nearer the bank of the 
river. The entrance to this was 
by a square hole in the face of the 
cliff, about five feet from its base. 
We put two Arabs in, very much 
a3 one would put ferrets into a 
rabbit-hole ; and as they stayed in 
nearly half an hour we began ^ to 
get alarmed^ although they had 
lights. Finally they reappeared, 
thoroughly exhausted. They re- 
ported that after squeezing along 
a narrow passage for about a hun- 
dred feet, they came to four cham- 
bers, opening into one another, but 
containing no sarcophagi. From 
these they ascended about ten feet 
by a perpendicular shaft, into a 
number of small chambers, — they 
could not tell how many on account 
of the bats, which they averred 
were so numerous as to prevent 
their making any observations. 
Of course, all inquiry as to whether 
there were hieroglyphics on the 
walls was comparatively useless, 
as their accuracy could not be re- 
lied upon ; but they declared most 
positively that there were none. 
Their account was, however, suffi- 
ciently interesting to tempt my 
friend to try his luck. I was un- 
fortunately not strong enough to 
attempt the scramble. He soon 
reappeared, in a half-stified condi- 
tion, saying that he had been 
obliged to come back for want of 
air, and on account of the extreme 
narrowness of the passage, in which 
he was afraid of sticking perma- 
nently. Our exertions, though they 
had not so far been attended with 
any great success, had given us an 
appetite, so we adjourned to the 
date -grove for luncheon, sending 
the Arabs in search of bricks, if 
there were any stamped with hiero- 
glyphics. In a short time they 
brought us several fragments but 



my learned friend could make noth- 
ing of them, they were so imper- 
fect. It was not untU we reached 
the spot from which they had been 
taken that, by piecing the most per- 
fect fragments together, and com- 
paring several, he deciphered their 
meaning. The inscription read as 
follows : — 

*^ NouUr-hon atrp en Ammon 
Pinedjetrif pet our Klient Isis ; " 

which, l)eing interpreted, signifies 
" Grand Priest of Ammon Pined- 
jem, Protector of the Grand Sanc- 
tuary of Isis.'' The bricks on which 
this inscription was stamped were 
about fifteen inches by nine, and the 
presumption is that this wall formed 
part of a temple dedicated to Isis, 
which was built by the pontiff- 
king Pinedjem, the third of the 
twenty-first dynasty, who reigned 
about 1043 b.c. ; and this hypo- 
thesis is borne out by the fact that 
the signification of the ancient 
Egyptian name of the town, Isem- 
bheb, is "the Isis of Heb," thus 
indicating that the locality was 
one sacred to the goddess, and 
adorned doubtless by a temple 
which had been erected in her 
honour by the priest -king Pined- 
jem. The history of the dynasty 
to which these kings belonged is 
so obscure that it would be most 
interesting if further light could be 
thrown upon it ; and it is probable 
that these ruins conceal records 
which would be of great historical 
value. It would appear from what 
we do know, that during the dy- 
nasty of the Kameses they exercised 
supreme spiritual functions at Tanis, 
the Zoan of the Bible, in Lower 
Egypt, and at Thebes ; and that 
when, owing to the weakness of the 
sixteenth and last Kameses,* the 
high priest Herhor, then chief 
prophet of Ammon, succeeded in 
overthrowing this dynasty, he 
established himself upon the throne 
of Egypt, and fixed the seat of 
government at Tanis ; but the high 



1881.] 



priests of Thebes, in order to retain 
the spiritual supremacy of that 
ancient city, started a contempor- 
aneous line, so that for some time 
Upper and Lower Egypt were 
governed independently of each 
other. Lepsius gives only three 
Tanite sovereigns and seven Theban, 
from which it would appear that a 
union must have taken place under 
the latter, who, however, seem to 
have reigned somewhat ingloriously. 
The most vigorous of them appear 
to have been Piankh and Pinedjem, 
who was possibly the Pharaoh with 
whom Solomon "made aflSnity" 
by marriage ; " for Pharaoh king 
of Egypt had gone up and taken 
Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and 
slain the Canaanites that dwelt in 
the city, and given it for a pres- 
ent unto his daughter, Solomon's 
wife." And we read further that 
Solomon built a house especially 
for her, because she seems to have 
retained the religion of her royal 
father, the high priest of Ammon ; 
therefore " Solomon brought up the 
daughter of Pharaoh out of the 
city of David unto the house he 
had built for her : for he said, My 
wife shall not dwell in the house 
of David king of Isrsiel, because the 
places are holy whereunto the ark 
of the Lord hath come.'' It seems 
odd that it should not have struck 
Solomon that if his wife was too 
unholy even to live in a sacred 
city, she was too unholy to be his 
wife; meantime his father-in-law, 
who, if he was not Pinedjem, was 
undoubtedly one of the priest-kings 
of Ammon, was celebrating mysteri- 
ous rites, possibly in this very temple 
of Isis whose ruined walls we were 
now identifying. Nor did these 
religious scruples interfere with 
intimate relations being kept up 
between Egypt and Palestine dur- 
ing the reign of Solomon and these 
pontiff - kings, for we hear that 



Part III.— Old and New. 



215 



" Solomon had horses brought out 
of Egypt and linen yarn : the king's 
merchants received the linen yarn 
at a price. And a chariot came up 
and went out of Egypt for six hun- 
dred shekels of silver, and an horse 
for an hundred and fifty." These 
commercial relations came to an 
end when Egypt was invaded by 
the Assyrians under Sheshong the 
First, and the dynasty of the Ammon 
monarchs was overthrown. This 
king is the Sesonchis of the Greeks, 
and the Shishak of the Bible, with 
whom Jeroboam took refuge when 
he fled from Kehoboam, and who 
afterwards "came up against Jeru- 
salem, and took away the treasures 
of the house of the Lord, and the 
treasures of the king's house; he 
took all : he carried away also the 
shields of gold which Solomon had 
made." An inscription on one of 
the walls of the great hall at Kar- 
nak commemorates this campaign 
against Judah, and gives a list of 
the conquered towns and districts. 

It is worthy of note that the 
modern name of bricks formed of 
clay, and not requiring straw, should 
be hay bee, as we found no straw in 
the bricks of these ruins, which 
now bear the same name, though 
in some of the walls which formed 
its fortifications are layers of reeds 
in every fourth course, to serve 
as binders. The bricks on which 
we found the inscription of pro- 
phet of Pinedjem were burnt ; so 
that Sir Gardner Wilkinson is mis- 
taken when he says " that burnt 
bricks were not used in Egypt, and 
when found they are known to be 
of Eoman time."* The rest of his 
notice on Egyptian brick -work, 
however, applies so accurately to the 
hay bee — which, with the exception 
of those stamped, were all crude — 
that it is worth quoting. 

" Enclosures of gardens or granaries, 
sacred circuits surrounding the courts 



Wilkinson's Ancient Egyptians, ii. 194. 



216 



Tlie Land of KheniL 



[Aug. 



of temples, walls of fortresses or towns, 
dwelling-houses and tombs, and even 
some few of the temples themselves, 
were of crude brick, with stout col- 
umns and gateways ; and bo great was 
the demand, that the Government, 
foreseeing the profit to be obtained 
from a monopoly of them, imdertook 
to supply the public at a moderate 
price, thus preventing all unauthorised 
persons from engaging in their manu- 
facture. And in order more effectu- 
ally to obtain this end, the seal of the 
king, or of some privileged person, was 
stamped upon the bricks at the time 
they were made : and bricks so mark- 
ed are found both in public and pri- 
vate buildings, some having the ovals 
of a king, and some the names and 
titles of a priest, or other influential 
person. Those which bear no charac- 
ters either form part of a tale, of which 
the first only were stamped, or were 
from the brick-fields of individuals 
who had obtained a licence from the 
Government to make them for their 
own consumption." 

It is not unlikely that if excava- 
tions were prosecuted at Hay bee 
some interesting discoveries might 
be made, and light thrown upon 
the legends concerning the pontifiT- 
kings of whose dynasties so little is 
known. I believe that Brugsch 
Pasha has visited the ruins, and 
found a brick or tablet of Thotmes 
the Third. There are also some 
figures in the Museum at Cairo, 
which have been sent from Hay- 
bee; but they are not the re- 
sult of organised examination, but 
of quarrying operations, under- 
taken for the construction of the 
sugar - factories on the other side 
of the river. When we got back 
to the first tomb we had visited, 
where we had set a couple of men 
to dig, we found that they had 
reached some sarcophagi; but 
they were too tightly wedged in, 
and OUT time was too limited, to 
render it possible to got at their 
contents. We afterwards found 
some mortuary chambers hewn in 
the rock ; and upon the lintel over 
the entrance of one there was an 



inscription, but it was too much 
defaced to be deciphered. 

The sun was now sinking behind 
the Libyan hills, and we reluctantly 
wended our way to the river-bank, 
accompanied by a large retinue of 
native followers. It was our first 
experience of research of this de- 
scription, and we had just done 
enough of it to whet our appetites, 
and to convince us that the field of 
archosological exploration is far from 
exhausted, and that the Egyptolo- 
gist may yet look forward to win- 
ning laurels in it For ourselves, 
we proposed to go higher up the 
river, in the hope of finding some 
spot which might offer attractions 
of the same description. 

With this object principally in 
view, we fixed our headquarters at 
Minieh, a town of some importance 
about 160 miles up the river from 
Cairo, whose white houses and 
relatively imposing appearance is 
familiar to dahaheeya travellers 
and Cook's tourists. Our abode 
was on the bank of the river, and 
the arrival of a Cook's steamer, with 
its passengers streaming on shore 
for an hour, and then posting off 
not much wiser than when they 
came, was an event which reminded 
us from time to time that we were 
within the pale of modem civilisa- 
tion. Minieh is a town of about 
20,000 inhabitants, the capital of 
the province, and residence of the 
mudir, and of the principal super- 
intendent of the Daira Sanieh for 
Upper Egypt. The only foreigners 
resident here are two or three 
French employees connected with 
the large sugar-factory which stands 
near the palace of the Khedive on 
the banks of the river. To the 
south of the town are the beautiful 
and extensive gardens, belonging 
principally to Sultan Pasha, the 
largest landholder and most influ- 
ential man in the province, whose 
palace by the water-side is quite an 
imposing feature ; while the elabo- 



Part IIL—Old and New. 



1881.] 

rate pleasure-gounds and gardens 
of tlie Khedive enclose the town on 
the north. It thus lies between 
the Kile in front, and the Ibrar 
himieh Canal in rear, with groves of 
dates and oranges, at once shady 
and odorous, on both flanks — and is 
one of the most agreeable residences 
on the river. On the opposite or 
eastern side of the Kile, rise, at a 
distance of about a mile froip the 
bank, the range of cliffs of nummu- 
lite limestone,, with the precipitous 
sides and fantastic forms of which 
the Kile traveller is so familiar. 
From time to time these cliffs are 
rent by gorges similar to the one 
we had already explored at Hay bee; 
and in old time they were strategi- 
cally of so much importance, that 
the remains of fortiflcations are 
nearly always to be found at them, 
and often the mounds and tombs, 
which indicate the previous exist- 
ence of towns. 

Nearly opposite the north end of 
!&rinieh was a gorge of this descrip- 
tion, upon which we cast longing 
eyes, the more especially as we could 
find no mention of it in any guide- 
book ; and we accordingly determin- 
ed to make it the object of our first 
expedition. We were greeted on our 
arrival on the opposite shore by 
the sheikh of the small village at 
which we landed, and followed 
him under date-trees and across 
wheat-fields to the base of the cliff. 
As we approached it, we were 
startled by the excited exclamation 
on the part of my servant, Mahomet 
Ahmed, who took a lively but some- 
what ill-regulated interest in hiero- 
glyphics, of " Dere's a 'scription ; " 
and on looking up incredulously, we 
observed, to our delight and sur- 
prise, a series of hieroglyphics and 
some pictorial representations cut on 
the wall of rock — which was here 
at least a hundred feet high — and 
about fifty feet from its base. I had, 
unfortunately, not brought my op- 
era-glass, and could only make out 



217 



the characters, some of which had 
been defaced by time, imperfectly. 
However, it looked as if it would 
be possible, by turning the angle 
of the gorge, to scramble along a 
narrow ledge which projected from 
the wall of rock, and so reach them. 
The face of the cliff — along the 
base of which we now walked for 
about half a mile — presented a most 
singular appearance : it was fur- 
rowed and pitted with holes, as 
though it had been afflicted in for- 
mer ages by a virulent attack of 
smallpox; at its northern extremity, 
where it was cleft by the gorge, it 
was crowned by a projecting mass 
of rock, most fantastic in form; and 
immediately beneath this, and on the 
shoulders which formed one side of 
the gorge, we found the remains of an 
ancient town. Our first instinct be- 
fore examining it, however, was to 
climb up the slope of brickbats and 
potsherds, until we reached what we 
calculated to be the level of the in- 
scription, and then to find the ledge 
by which it could be reached. This 
proved to be about two feet wide, 
with a horrible sloping surface of 
small limestone gravel, and after I 
had gone a few yards I found myself 
clutching too affectionately to the 
Arab in front of me for my peace 
of mind. I had overestimated my 
steadiness of head, and was com- 
pelled to beat a hasty and igno- 
minious retreat. I was partially 
compensated for my humiliation 
and disappointment by the ex- 
treme interest and beauty of the 
view from this elevated spot. The 
amphitheatre was somewhat similar, 
but superior in ruggedness of out- 
line and boldness of character gen- 
erally, to that of Hay bee. Looking 
eastward, and bounding the pros- 
pect in that direction, at a distance 
of about half a mile, was a lofty cliff 
of natural rock— a projecting mass 
of which terminated abruptly on 
a lower ridge. Along the summit 
of this ridge, which, in its turn 



218 



The Land of Khtmi, 



[Aug. 



ended in a precipice sixty or seventy 
feet high, ran a wall of crude brick 
showing sharply against the sky-line. 
As well as I could judge from the 
distance at which I was, it was from 
sixty to seventy yards long, and from 
fifteen to twenty feet high, and was 
evidently part of the outer fortifica- 
tions of the town. In all probability 
it formed a portion of the defensive 
system which is said to have been 
constructed by an ancient Egyptian 
queen, whose name was Delooka, 
and which extended from Assouan 
along the whole length of the valley 
of the Nile to the sea. 

Diodorus says that Sesostris 
** erected a wall along the eastern 
side of Egypt to guard against the 
incursions of the Syrians and Arabs, 
which extended from Pelusium, by 
the desert, to Heliopolis, being in 
length 1500 stadia" (about 173 
English miles). If this was neces- 
sary as far as Heliopolis, there is 
every reason to suppose that it was 
no less essential to the safety of the 
inhabitants further up the river, and 
that, as an additional security, those 
fortresses were built, the remains 
of which I have seen at Haybee, 
Tehneh, Kom el Kafara, and else- 
where on the eastern bank of the 
Nile. The Arabs told us there 
were no mounds of a town beyond 
the wall, but that there were caves 
in the clifis beyond ; and I have no 
doubt that they would repay in- 
vestigation, as this neighbourhood 
seems somehow to have escaped that 
careful examination which has been 
bestowed upon almost every mile of 
the Nile valley. 

There were a few native huts 
among the mounds, and the " oldest 
inhabitant " told us that half a 
day's journey to the eastward there 
were two caves, the extent of which 
could never be explored, they were 
so vast. He declared that he him- 
self had been with lights the better 
part of a day's journey in one of 
them. That in the limestone for- 



mation there may be natural caves 
of some extent which have been 
magnified by native imagination, is 
highly probable, but I doubt whe- 
ther they would repay a visit. The 
population of the place we were 
now exploring, and which is called 
Kom el Kafara, assured us that 
though so near Minieh, they had 
never known of any foreigners hav- 
ing investigated the ruins. They 
could, in fact, only remember hav- 
ing once seen two .who came to 
shoot* We made them collect all 
their treasures in the way of beads 
and coins, the former of which the 
women wear as necklaces, while the 
latter are kept by the men under a 
vague impression that they repres- 
ent money of some sort. On one of 
these necklaces I found a modern 
button, a modern glass bead, and a 
scarabaeus. The woman was evi- 
dently under the impression that 
the latter was the least valuable 
of the three; she put a relatively 
high price on the button and the 
bead, but I got the scarabaeus for 
twopence. The coins were com- 
paratively modem, with Roman, 
Arabic, and Cufic inscriptions, 
but it by no means follows that 
they were picked up on the spot. 
In the low mud-wall of one of the 
huts was the fragment of a marble 
papyrus column about three feet 
high ; near by in the mounds were 
two circular limestone plinths about 
four feet apart, and three feet in dia- 
meter, which probably supported the 
columns that formed the entrance 
to a temple ; and a large circular 
block of carved marble was so era- 
bedded in the debris that we could 
not determine its exact size. The 
town was evidently a small one, 
probably not much more than a 
fortress, as the ruins only covered 
about 300 acres. Many of the 
walls of the houses, built of crude 
brick, were still standing ; and 
on the edge of a rude mummy- 
pit we found a bundle still intact 



Part IIL^Old and New. 



1881.] 



and tightly corded up. This we 
eagerly untied ; the flax rope which 
bound it was as strong as the day 
it was first twisted round the brown 
linen wrappages, layer after layer of 
which we unwound, and which were 
also in very g<V)d preservation. The 
bundle, which was about eighteen 
inches in diameter, contained, when 
at last we reached its, enclosure, a 
quantity of raw flax, a number of 
small bones of some animal, and 
some grains of wheat. There was no 
skull, and certainly not nearly the 
full complement of bones. After 
this we wandered over the mounds 
in search of antiques, but found 
nothing of any value. There were 
no fragments of glass, though a good 
few of coloured glazed pottery; 
but at last, to our joy, on turning 
over the largest bricks, we found 
some stamped with hierogly- 
phics. It took us some time to 
piece the most perfect of these 
together, and our former experi- 
ence at Haybee enabled us, with 
the assistance of a hieroglyphic 
alphabet, to decipher it as fol- 
lows — " Xouter-hon-atep, Ra-men- 
cheper," or "The High Priest of 
Ammon Ra-men-cheper." The in- 
terest of this discovery lay in the 
fact that Ea-men-cheper was the 
fourth king of the twenty -first 
dynasty ; and I am not aware that 
his name has been found upon any 
monument before. It was a curious 
thing that the brick we found at 
Haybee, sixty miles lower down the 
river on the same bank, in an 
almost exactly similar gorge, should 
have been inscribed with the name 
of his immediate predecessor Pin- 
ed jem. We know nothing about 
Ba-men-cheper except his position 
in the royal lists; and it is pos- 
sible that excavations* here might 
reveal some interesting records of 
his reign, and of the dynasty of pon- 
tiff kings to which he belonged. 

At the mouth of the gorge, on 
its northern side, is the tomb of a 



219 



sheikh ; and below this, near a few 
date-trees, are two caves, one nat- 
ural, about twenty feet high, but of 
no great depth, and the other arti- 
ficial, the entrance to which, cut 
into the solid rock, was twelve feet 
by six : the mortuary chamber 
within was forty feet long by ten 
wide, but there were no inscriptions 
on its rock sides, and at one corner 
was a perpendicular shaft, filled to 
within three feet of the top with 
sand. The roof of a lower chamber, 
which is usually the receptacle of 
sarcophagi, was just visible at this 
point, and we lighted some straw 
and found it was filled with sand 
and rubbish to within a foot of the 
roof. Under these circumstances 
further investigation, except with a 
gang of workmen, was impossible. 
We had done enough to prove the 
interest of the spot, and the only 
thing still remaining to be accom- 
plished, short of excavation, was 
the deciphering of the inscription 
on the cliff. I revisited it some 
days after for this purpose, and 
this time succeeded in getting along 
the ledge to its base. I found it 
to be about thirty feet long and 
nine feet high. The name in- 
scribed was that of Eameses the 
Third ; but the upper parts of the 
figures were so mutilated that I was 
unable to conjecture what they 
might signify until I visited the 
cliffs near Tehneh, ten miles lower 
down the river. Here I saw, occu- 
pying the same position on the rock, 
what appeared to be the same 
three figures; but they were un- 
mutilated, and have been decided, 
by those competent to form an 
opinion, to be a representation of 
liameses the Third receiving a fal- 
chion from the hand of the croco- 
dile-headed god Savak, or Savak-Ra, 
in the presence of Ammon. I feel 
little doubt that the figures at Kom el 
Kafara have the same signification. 
The natives evidently regarded 
the inscription with a good deal of 



220 



Tlie Land of KhemL 



[Aug. 



awe and superstition. The sheikh 
assured me that I should find the 
stone at the base of the inscription 
would give forth a hollow sound if 
I struck the rock, and told me that 
there was a mysterious cavern with- 
in, inhabited by efrites or devils, 
to which no entrance had been 
found, but that it was probably 
behind a curious stone, which he 
called a " monkey stone," the sin- 
gular shape and black colour of 
which contrasted curiously with 
the white limestone. It looked like 
black basalt ; but whether it was, 
or how it got there, I can form no 
definite opinion. It is certain, how- 
ever, that, on striking the rock, 
I failed to make it emit a hollow 
sound. Eameses seems to have 
had a propensity, in which he has 
been imitated by the modern tour- 
ist, of writing his name on rocks, 
but he did it in a style so imperish- 
able, that it has lasted just three 
thousand years ; and perhaps, con- 
sidering his great achievements both 
in war and peace, his vanity may 
be excused. He rivalled his great 
predecessor and relative, Eameses 
the Great, the Sesostris of the 
Greeks, in his conquests, in the 
benefits he conferred upon his 
country, and in the monuments he 
left behind him. Of these, the 
temple of Medinet Habou, on 
the plain of Thebes, is perhaps the 
most remarkable. Among the in- 
scriptions there, is one which men- 
tions, for the first time in history, 
several of the nations of Europe, 
and his tomb is one of the finest 
of " the tombs of the kings." 

I described these facts to the faith- 
ful Mahomet, who was extremely 
anxious to know the interpretation 
of the inscription he had been the 
first to point out, and who piloted 
me along the ledge to enable me to 
copy it. "This is the name of the 
great Eameses," I said. " You have 
heard of his tomb!" "Yes, sir," 
he promptly replied. " Captain 



Eamsay I know — he one English 
gentleman ; he not buried here — 
his tomb furdur up." 

While our experiences so far had 
satisfied us that the ancient land of 
Khemi was far from exhausted as a 
field for antiquarian research, we also 
found, in the phase through which 
the modern land of Egypt is passing, 
much to interest in both its political 
and material condition. Our mode 
of life brought us more closely into 
contact with the people of all 
classes than usually falls to the lot 
either of the tourist hurrying to 
the First Cataract, or the valetudin- 
arian leading a hotel life in Cairo. 

I had myself visited Egypt upon 
eight previous occasions, on flying 
visits, and can therefore realise 
how erroneous is the impression 
produced upon the traveller who 
sees it for the first time from the 
windows of a railway carriage, or 
the deck of a dahaheeya. The squal- 
id aspect of the mud-villages, the 
thinly clad ragged population clus- 
tered round the holes which serv'^e 
for entrances into their dung-daubed 
hovels, and the poverty-stricken 
aspect of the population, would lead 
to a most incorrect conclusion, if it 
was formed entirely on outward ap- 
pearances. And indeed there has 
been a time, and that not very re- 
mote, when the external aspect of 
the people did not belie their real 
condition; when they were thrashed 
and starved by a rapacious govern- 
ment, crying, like ** the horse-leech, 
'Give, give,' " and which never was 
satisfied. It is only since the ex- 
pulsion of the late Khedive that a 
change has come over the spirit of 
their dream — a change so great, 
that they are bewildered by its 
suddenness, and have not yet had 
time to alter the outward habits of 
the life to which they have so long 
been accustomed, or to recover from 
the sense of fear and mistrust by 
which they were continually haunt- 
ed. The character of the people 



1881.] 



Part II L— Old and New. 



221 



has been created by long periods 
of misrule and oppression ; quali- 
ties of apathy, suspicion, and deceit 
have been engendered, which it 
will take years of just and equit- 
able administration to eradicate; 
and it will probably be long before 
they are stimulated by the steady 
improvement in their economical 
condition to rise to a higher con- 
ception of the comforts of daily 
life. No doubt the perfection of 
the climate tends to militate against 
any rapid change in this respect. 
The mud-huts are good enough for 
a country in which it never rains ; 
the thin ragged gowns warm enough 
for a temperature which is always 
pleasant. The land is so fruitful 
that it does not require the amount 
of labour which is necessary upon 
a more ungrateful soil to be made 
to yield of its abundance ; and the 
people may have money enough in 
their pockets to build better houses 
and buy finer clothes, long before it 
will enter into their heads to do so. 
There is a strong and very nat- 
ural propensity to hoard among 
them ; and the possession of wealth 
having always been synonymous 
with persecution, when it was dis- 
covered, has led to habits of se- 
crecy in regard to it; so that the 
first instinct of a peasant who, by 
some fortunate accident, acquires a 
sum of money, is to bury it, and not 
disclose its existence, even to his 
wife and family. Under the oven 
is a favourite hiding-place, as there 
is a certain security in a fire being 
generally burning over it. Even 
to the last, men have been known 
to guard the secret, dying with it 
unrevealed ; and there can be little 
doubt that a good deal of money 
has been lost in this way, and that, 
if we add the stores of the ancients 
to those of modem times, the 
country must contain a consider- 
able amount of hidden treasure. 
This is confirmed to some extent 
by the fact that the ideas of the 



peasantry are always running upon 
hidden treasure. I received a 
curious evidence of this upon one 
occasion when I was trying to in- 
duce a man to sell me some an- 
tiques which he had dug out of a 
mound. Among them he inadvert- 
ently said there was a large earthen 
jar — on which his wife interrupted 
him, and a violent argument took 
place between them. She objected 
strongly to her husband selling the 
jar, on the ground that if it came 
to the ears of the Government they 
would certainly be accused of hav- 
ing stolen the treasure which it 
contained, and be forced to pay 
money by way of restitution. 

In spite of all this suspicion and 
reluctance to reveal the possession 
of money, by spending it, we have 
but to look a little closely to see 
the evidences of an increasing ma- 
terial prosperity all through Egypt. 
In many of the smaller towns 
new houses are springing up rapid- 
ly ; at Medinet el Fayoum, Minieh, 
Ehoda, and other places which I 
visited, this was observable; land 
which had been allowed to run out 
was being taken back into cultiva- 
tion; the Fayoum especially has 
taken a marvellous start within the 
last two years. I was, perhaps, the 
more struck by the marked evi- 
dences, everywhere visible, of a 
growing prosperity, by the contrast 
which the country afiforded to 
Turkey, where I had passed the 
previous year. It was the differ- 
ence between a house in process of 
construction and a house crumbling 
to decay. The unfortunate feature 
in the situation is, that the new 
house is being built under the very 
shadow of the old, by the same 
builders who are actually engaged 
in helping to pull down the old, 
and who are only " constructing " 
in harmony now, for interested 
and private motives, which must 
conflict whenever the scramble 
begins for the remains of what 



222 



The Land of KhemL 



[Aug. 



they are about to* demolish. Un- 
der these circumstances, though 
the present aspect is encouraging, 
the conviction that its prosperity- 
depends upon a combination of 
external powers, with rival and 
selfish ends in view, seriously de- 
tracts from what would otherwise 
be a most hopeful prospect for the 
future. This, indeed, is believed, 
that the unfortunate people will 
just have tasted enough of relief 
from oppression and of material 
prosperity, to make the relapse 
into the general chaos which must 
ensue upon the dismemberment of 
Turkey doubly painful to them; 
and they will find their suspicion 
and distress of the future, and the 
sort of instinct which prevails that 
the present state of things is too 
good to last, well founded. Mean- 
time they seem to believe in ^' mak- 
ing hay while the sun shines." 
Every man has already learnt 
exactly how much his annual tax 
amounts to, and refuses to be 
squeezed out of a piastre more. 
The old officials, who used to line 
their pockets out of extortions from 
the peasantry, under pretext of 
collecting taxes, which varied with 
the squeezability of the tax-payer, 
can do so no longer without dis- 
covery ; for the peasant has learnt 
from experience, to his astonish- 
ment, that appeal to the proper 
quarter secures protection and re- 
dress. A consciousness which is, 
on the other hand, apt to produce 
a reaction, and make him insub- 
ordinate and untractable in matters 
where he lias certain duties to per- 
form, and to which he was com- 
pelled in old days by a free use of 
the kurbash. 

In a country dependent for its 
prosperity upon its irrigation sys- 
tem being kept in good repair, 
it is evident that every human 
being is personally interested in 
the state of the sluices and irrigat- 
ing canals; and from the earliest 



times the population were com- 
pelled to contribute their labour 
gratuitously for their up-keep, just 
as in the United States every farm 
in the country is compelled to con- 
tribute its quota of labour, without 
payment, to the maintenance of 
the roads. The same system has 
always prevailed in Egypt ; and the 
canals were kept up by a corvee of 
the inhabitants, who endeavoured, 
by every means in their power, to 
evade it, and were only compelled 
to obedience by the liberal use of 
the stick. Now, however, the* use 
of the stick or kurbash is abol- 
ished, but the men are none the 
less expected to keep the irrigation 
works in repair by gratuitous labour. 
In some mudirates the peasantry 
are compelled to work thus without 
payment on the dikes and canals 
for six months in the year, in 
others for one hundred and twenty 
days. Nor can they exempt them- 
selves by payment, — as even, if the 
money were forthcoming, it would 
not be possible to find the requisite 
amount of labour. In addition to 
this, the men are often obliged to 
work at a distance of one or two 
days* journey from their homes, 
thus involving them in consider- 
able extra expense, to escape which 
they not un frequently bribe the 
minor employees. Indeed, although 
legally they cannot buy exemption, 
in practice it is not so very diffi- 
cult; for money, skilfully applied, 
generally provides a means of escape 
from most dilemmas. It is evident 
that no people in the world will 
willingly stand being forced to 
work six months of the year with- 
out pay ; and now that they are no 
longer bastinadoed into it, they are 
getting difficult to manage, and the 
canals are suffering in consequence. 
The simple and manifest solution 
of the difficulty would be to clean 
them by machinery. There is 
something at once grotesque and 
pathetic in this nineteenth century 



1881.] 



Part III.— Old and New. 



223 



in the sight of five thousand men, 
almost entirely naked, standing 
waist-deep in the soft mud, and 
scooping it out with no better in- 
strument than their hands. One 
can scarcely conceive a more dis- 
agreeable operation, though it re- 
minds one how little the habits of 
the people are changed since those 
ancient times when the huge monu- 
ments, which at this day challenge 
our admiration, were created by the 
application of physical force upon a 
vast scale. By the introduction of 
dredgers this great multitude might 
be largely released, and enabled to 
devote themselves to the culture 
of their own lands. At the same 
time, the maintenance of dikes 
and other irrigation works would 
always render a certain amount 
of forced labour necessary; and 
though it is repugnant to our feel- 
ings to force them to work by beat- 
ing them, still, as their own sal- 
Tation depends upon their fulfil- 
ling this duty, it is a question 
how fax this sentiment should pre- 
vail in a matter of such vital in- 
terest to the country, among a 
population who have always been 
accustomed to this mode of coercion, 
and who feel no disgrace attaching 
to it. A curious illustration of 
this came under my notice while 
staying with a friend who was en- 
gaged in keeping the canals in good 
repair. A man who had persist- 
ently evaded his duties, seemed to 
be pricked by his conscience, and 
voluntarily came to him one day, 
and said that he was prepared to 
go to work on the canal, but that 
he could not do so without beiug 
compelled. He had never in his 
life worked on a canal until he had 
been beaten, and there was appar- 
ently something repugnant to his 
feelings in going to work upon'one, 
even for pay, voluntarily ; he there- 
fore requested that a hundred 
blows of the kurbash should be 

VOL. OXXX. — NO, DCOXC. 



administered to him upon the soles 
of his feet. My Mend reluctantly 
acceded to his request, thereby 
breaking the law ; but the man re- 
ceived the required stimulus with- 
out a groan, and went to his work 
in a peaceful and contented frame of 
mind, as one who had relieved his 
conscience of a heavy load. One 
could scarcely require a stronger 
proof of the extent to which a 
population may be dSnaturee by 
a long course of oppression than 
this instance, which is perfectly 
authentic, furnishes. 

From the illustration I have given 
of the value of the hurhash it will 
be seen that it has too strong a hold 
upon the people to be readily aban- 
doned ; and indeed, although it is 
nominally prohibited by law, its 
use is largely resorted to, mh roaa, 
by the native minor officials, more 
especially in the detection of crime. 
On one occasion, alighting from the 
train at a small town* where I was 
going to spend a few days, I observ- 
ed five prisoners, heavily chained 
by the neck and arms, being 
escorted by a guard of soldiers 
out of one of the rear carriages. 
The leading man was a negro, with 
by no means a bad cast of counte- 
nance, who was smiling defiantly 
at the crowd which had assembled 
to see them pass. The others fol- 
lowed his example in a display of 
contempt and indifference to their 
position, and some of them were 
truculent - looking fellows enough. 
On inquiring as to their crime, I 
was informed that a few days be- 
fore they had burglariously entered 
the house of a small Greek trader 
in the town, whom they had fired 
at and severely wounded, decamp- 
ing with a considerable sum of 
money, shooting and killing on 
their way a policeman who at- 
tempted to interfere. It was sus- 
pected that they formed part of a 
large band who were credited with 
p 



224 



The Land of Khemi, 



[Aug. 



a series of burglaries and other acts 
of violence in the neighbourhood. 
They had been arrested owing to 
a curious train of circumstances 
too long to recount, but I was 
anxious to follow them to the office 
of the vaJdl in order to hear them 
cross-examined. I was requested, 
however, to refrain from doing so, 
as the authorities would have hesi- 
tated to apply the kurbash in my 
presence ; and without it, it would 
be impossible to discover the names 
and hiding-places of their accom- 
plices, one of whom had been ac- 
tually guilty of the murder. I was 
therefore obliged to content myself 
with receiving an accurate report of 
what passed from one who was pre- 
sent. He told me that the black 
man, who was one of the ring- 
leaders, and had been a slave, 
received a hundred blows of the 
kurbash, bellowing loudly during 
the whole of the process, before he 
announced himself willing to con- 
fess. When he did so, his revela- 
tions were most important. All 
his comrades were similarly treat- 
ed — one receiving in silence and 
in perfect indifference 1500 blows 
of the kurbash without confessing. 
The executioner told my informant 
that the man's feet were so hard he 
felt as if he was beating iron. He was 
then put to various kinds of torture, 
but remained obdurate to the end. 
As a result of what was discovered, 
however, all the remaining mem- 
bers of the band, numbering in all 
twenty-two, were arrested, and six 
murders, accompanied by assassina- 
tion, were confessed with all their 
details, besides numerous minor 
offences. The fear of the peasantry, 
and their reluctance to testify in 
cases where the band is powerful 
and influential by virtue of its con- 
nection by blood with a large dis- 
trict of country, would have ren- 
dered it impossible to bring this 
gang of malefactors to justice with- 
out resorting to these severe meas- 



ures. In the case in question, one 
girl proved an exception to this 
rule, and showed as much courage 
in giving her evidence as nerve 
and presence of mind at the time 
of the burglary. It seems that the 
black slave came to her as she lay 
bound on the ground for the pur- 
pose of cutting her throat, on which 
she said, " If you want to cut my 
throat in order to get my bracelets 
and earrings, here they are, and 
welcome. I only gave two piastres 
for the bracelets, and one for the 
earrings," — ^and she took them off 
and threw them to him ; on which 
the chief of the band, picking 
them up, threw them back to 
her with the remark, " We don't 
want your false rubbish," and 
called off his black comrade. They 
were really solid gold, and the 
clever wench saved her life and 
her jewels by her ready wit Not 
uncommonly the police are in league 
with the robbers; and this must 
have been the case in this instance, 
for out of 110 town guardians, only 
two were proved to have been on 
duty on the night of the occurrence, 
and of these one was shot Hence 
there was no possibility of institut- 
ing a pursuit at the time. 

It is an unfortunate fact that the 
common people seem to get demor- 
alised in proportion as they are 
brought in contact with foreigners. 
Thus the servants in the large 
towns, and the Nile boatmen, are 
among the most dishonest classes in 
the population. An instance of the 
moral code prevalent among the 
latter came under my notice one 
day, lying wind-bound moored to a 
sandy islet in the river. A large 
dahabeeya, laden with grain, came 
and moored alongside, and I ob- 
served the crew busy apparently 
throwing the grain in the air to 
clean it Upon my inquiring why 
they chose the time and place for 
this operation, I was informed that 
the boat was consigned to some 



Part III.— Old and New. 



1881.] 

f oTeign honse in Cairo, but that the 
reis was making a little speculation 
-oat of the cargo on his own ac- 
-count, and having sold some of it 
at a neighbouring town, was now 
-engaged making up the deficient 
weight with fine sand. When the 
whole was thoroughly mixed he 
would damp it a little, so as to in- 
crease the bulk and weight of his 
•cargo to the requisite extent. This 
proceeding was carried on openly 
under the eyes of our crew, who 
considered it a perfectly natural 
one. Merchants who are convers- 
ant with frauds of this kind, 
constantly practised by the crews 
of Xile boats, usually send a trust- 
worthy person as a watchman. The 
great amount of European travel on 
the river of late years, the lavish 
expenditure of backsheesh, and the 
opportunities which exist for swind- 
ling the unsophisticated traveller, 
have made the Kile boatmen a 
greedy, rapacious, and, unless they 
are kept well in hand, an insolent 
class of the community. Neverthe- 
less, taken as a whole, the people 
are peaceable and easily managed, 
contented with little, and grateful 
for kind treatment, though lacking 
in enterprise or energy, — a defect 
which, however, may rather be due 
to a long course of bad government 
than to the inherent absence of those 
qualities. Kow that they are regu- 
larly paid for their day's labour by 
the Daira Sanieh and Domaine ad- 
ministrations, they show themselves 
industrious enough; and there is 
no difficulty in getting labour where 
they feel they can rely upon the 
moufietish. There is, however, a 
^eat contrast in the methods in 
which the estates of the Daira 
Sanieh are administered, depending 
on the individual capacity and 
honesty of the mouffetishes. Each 
of these functionaries administers a 
ifi/tish or farm, varying in size from 
50,000 to 10,000 acres,— the whole 
Daira Sanieh lands amounting to 



225 



about half a million of acres. Of 
these, 200,000 lie in a strip extend- 
ing for eighty miles along the banks 
of the Kile to a point about twenty 
miles above Minieh; 50,000 are sit- 
uated above Luxor ; 76,000 are in 
the Fayoum; and the rest in Lower 
Egypt. On this land there are 375 
miles of agricultural railway, the 
plant, rolling stock, and appurte- 
nances of which are valued at about 
a million sterling. There are nine 
sugar-mills in operation, and three 
in full working orider,but these latter 
are closed for want of a sufficient sup- 
ply of cane. These mills are valued at 
about £200,000 a piece ; and there 
is one which is not quite finished, 
but the building materials for it 
are all on the spot. Besides the 
sagar, there are sundry cotton mills, 
which are not at work. The ex- 
Khedive is responsible for all this 
extravagance of investment in ma- 
chinery; and it is melancholy to 
see the quantity of good material, 
of great value, lying about the fields, 
which is destined never to be used. 
Huge iron wheels, boilers, cylinders, 
fragments of steam-ploughs, seem to 
strew the country ; while the long 
iron funnels of the sugar-factories 
disfigure it. If these returned a 
large profit on the expenses of 
working them, it would be some 
consolation; but at present the 
Daira lands do not do much more 
than pay their expenses together 
with the charges upon them, and 
in some years do not do that. This 
is to some extent due to defective 
cultivation. The furrows in which 
the cane is planted are not nearly 
deep enough ; the rows, unlike 
those I have seen in the Southern 
States of America, are single instead 
of double, and are only about half 
as far apart; and the cane is not 
banked up. The present adminis- 
tration has no doubt much to con- 
tend with. First, it has the 
legacy of all the corruption and 
evils which tainted every depart- 



226 



The Land o/KJiejni. 



[Aug. 



ment under the late Government, 
and these were especially rife in 
the Daira Sanieh, which offered an 
exceptionally good field for plunder ; 
then it has to bear the pressure of 
the bondholders, who cannot wait 
for a process of reform, and to sub- 
mit to the trying of experiments 
which are incidental to a new sys- 
tem, but which must of necessity 
take time and money. It may be 
that by degrees these experiments 
may be introduced; for there can 
be no doubt that, with certain 
changes in the present system and 
a judicious expenditure jof capital, 
especially on irrigation works, the 
Daira Sanieh property might be 
made to 3rield a very large return. 
It is due to Ismail Pasha to ac- 
knowledge that he planned a system 
of irrigation which possesses great 
merit, and which only requires to 
be perfected to confer a still greater 
benefit upon the country than it 
already does. "With a view of com- 
pletely controlling and utilising to 
their fullest extent the waters of the 
Kile, he constructed the canal known 
as the Ibrahimieh Canal, which is 
called after his son. It rims parallel 
with the Kile, and generally within 
a mile distant from it, and extends 
from a little above Ehoda to Beni- 
Sae£ It was originally intended to 
be carried into the Kile below that 
place, but instead of this it dwindles 
away to nothing, and the canal to 
a great extent fails to do the work 
for which it was designed, and be 
a large full-flowing river throughout 
its whole course. One of the most 
important public works awaiting 
accoiaplishment is the completion 
of this canal. In addition to this 
most valuable adjunct to the system 
of irrigation, the late Khedive built 
a huge dike, also extending from 
Ehoda to Eeni-Suef, a distance of 
more than a hundred miles j and the 
land between the Ibrahimieh Canal 
and this dike, on the other side 
of which is the Bahr Youssef, forms 



practically the whole ctdtivable area 
of the western bank of the Kile 
for that distance. It is divided 
into basins, into which the water 
is conducted by the canaL These 
basins store the inundation for as 
long a time as is required, and the 
ceremony of opening the sluice- 
gates to admit the water from one 
mudirate to another is quite an 
imposing function. The two mudirs 
meet at the gate, and the one 
formally hands over the water to 
the other, who signs a written receipt 
for it. The only natural overflows 
which now take place are that of 
the waters of the Kile over the nar- 
row strip on its left bank, and that of 
the Bahr Youssef, which runs behind 
the dike. The whole of the rest 
of the country is divided into basins 
which are flooded as desired; and the 
impression of one's youth, therefore, 
that the whole country was sub- 
merged at once by uncontrolled 
inundation is erroneous. It is a 
question whether this plan of storing 
the water and allowing it to stagnate 
before it is led on into other basins, 
does not deprive it of its fertilis- 
ing qualities, as it necessarily has 
not so much mud to deposit as the 
constant fresh supply which came 
down with the natural overflow. 
This would not be the case if the 
Ibrahimieh Canal was finished, as 
the waters would then run off, and 
the fresh flood could be carried over 
the land. As it is, the stagnation 
of the water produces infiltration, 
which causes the saline properties 
in the soil to rise. Partly owing to 
this cause, partly to the exhaust- 
ing qualities of sugar-cane and the 
neglect of a proper rotation of crops, 
and partly to the deleterious effects 
in the long-run of the nitrous soil 
which is excavated from the old 
mounds and used as manure, the 
land will lose much of its produc- 
tive capacity ere long, unless steps 
are taken to remedy these evils. 
Altogether the system, not only of 



PaH III.— Old and New. 



1881.] 

irrigation but of cnltivation, leaves 
much to be desired ; and there can 
be no doubt that the introduction 
of foreign enterprise and capital 
would develop the resources of the 
country -with far greater rapidity 
and success than a Government 
department can, however well ad- 
ministered. Unfortunately, there 
seems a disposition on the part of 
the Government to exclude agri- 
cultural enterprise, for fear, possi- 
bly, of the foreign influence which 
must follow in its train, — and per- 
haps one can hardly blame them. 
Wbat with their Domaine lands 
hypothecated to foreigners in one 
du^ction, and their Daira Sanieh 
lands in another, and all the prin- 
cipal departments of the Govern- 
ment under foreign control, one has 
no reason to wonder at a reluctance 
to see foreigners appropriating the 
very soil. I only know of one in- 
stance of a considerable tract of land 
being farmed by a private individual 
who is a foreigner, and he has no 
cause to regret his venture; but 
he has had much prejudice to 
contend with on the part of the 
natives, and had great difficulty in 
making his purchase in the first in- 
stance. 

This prejudice, so far as the pea- 
santry are concerned, is soon over- 
come. They have every reason to 
be thankful for the system under 
which the Government is at pres- 
ent administered ; and foreigners, 
and especially English, are de- 
cidedly popular among them. 
Among the upper classes the sen- 
timent is different. The Turkish 
official element is as bitterly op- 
posed to the foreigner as in Turkey 
itself; whilst the sympathy of the 
higher officials of Egyptian origin, 
^ind of the Copts, is French rather 
than English. This is partly owing 
to the great preponderance of the 
French population in Egypt over 
the English, — to the much greater 
proportion of employees in the Gov- 



227 



emment service which belong to 
the former nationality, and to the 
fact that the official language is 
French. AH the Arab papers in the 
country but one support the French. 
In fact, Egypt is becoming rapidly 
Frenchified moraUy, and under the 
present contrivance of an Anglo- 
French administration its influence 
is increasing. But in Egypt, as else- 
where in Eastern countries which 
are more or less under the domi- 
nation of the Porte, a' feeling of 
national independence is gradually 
growing. This is the case both in 
Egypt and Syria, though from the 
fact that both countries have lost all 
traditions of a national independent 
existence, it is a plant of slow and 
tender growth, and will not dare to 
find expression until the central 
Turkish 'power is shaken to its 
foundations. I think we may then 
see, both in Syria and Egypt, 
an anti-Turkish movement, which 
the old conquering race, whose su- 
premacy is now only based upon 
its prestige, will be no longer able 
to resist. When such a movement 
takes place, the relations which these 
two countries hold towards Eng- 
land and France will have to be 
determined, and it will probably 
then be found that the best solu- 
tion would be an arrangement by 
which Syria, excluding Palestine, 
should be placed under the protec- 
torate of France, and Egypt under 
that of England. The national 
party in both countries would hail 
such a change with delight, and in- 
deed are already so far familiarised 
with the idea of obtaining their 
freedom from the domination of 
Turkey by some arrangement of the 
Western Powers, that the only prac- 
tical difficulties in the way of a 
solution in this sense would arise, 
not from the countries to be dealt 
with, but from the suspicions and 
jealousies of those great Powers 
whose function it must be ere long 
to shape their destinies. 



228 Holidays. — Sunset on the Lomonds. [Aug.. 



HOLIDAYS. 

OxcE more, once more again 

On me, from city cares -who fly, 
Lochleven, like a loving eye, 
Looks round the shoulder of the hills, 
And all life's artificial ills 

Pass from me with their pain ! 

The smoke mil leave a stain; 

In absence of the cleansing shower 
The dust wiil dim the freshest flower: 
Happy the heart on whom the dust 
Of active life (for blow it must) 

Grows not a thing in grain ! 

Xor are those ills in vain: 

They come upon our passions here 

Like winter rigours on the year — 

The purer are the daisies' dyes 

When spring comes round, bluer the skies. 
And welcomer the rain ! 

To some the breezy main; 

To some the moors and burns; to some, 
"Who cannot go, sweet thoughts will come; 
To me, enfranchisement from ills 
When gleams, as now, between the hills 

Lochleven o'er the plain ! 



SUNSET ON THE LOMONDS. 

See where into the sunset far 
The terraced mountains rise. 
The cresset of a single star 
Just o'er them in the skies ! 
Oh that to me a dove's meek eyes 

And snowy wings were given 
To reach yon hills, and realise 
The calm they have from heaven ! 
My soul is o'er the vale of Leven 
(Though here in streets I stray) 
Till fades the holy golden even : 
The wish, too, dies away ! 
Alas for earth ! that all it may. 

Is but a mood in me; 
And that, when heaven withdraws its ray^ 
The mood should cease to be ! 

J. LOGIE EOBERTSOX. 



1881.] 



AtUohiographies. 



229 



AUTOBIOGRAPHIES. 



NO. IV. — EDWARD GIBBON. 



The last antobiographer whom 
we bionglit before the reader was 
the most romantic and fantastic of 
noble ladies. We have now a sub- 
ject more sedate. Those picturesque 
and troublous days were over, and 
the reign of the conventional had 
come in, when Edward Gibbon, Esq., 
a comely, well-bred, and well-dress- 
ed gentleman of the Georgian era, 
bethought him that it would be 
well, haying neither chick nor child, 
but only a big book to make him 
known to posterity, if he left also 
for the instruction of the world a 
personal account of himself and all 
his ways. He had a happy confi- 
dence that this narrative would be 
received with all the interest which 
it deserved, and was very well aware 
that his was no insignificant figure, 
but one in every respect important 
enough to be contemplated by suc- 
cessive generations, and to give the 
world assurance of a man and a 
historian such as appears but rarely 
to its view. He was not noble or 
beautiful, or the head of a family 
such as might be supposed to derive 
at once importance and guidance 
from the example of an ancestor so 
distinguished. He does not write, 
as Lord Herbert does, for the in- 
struction of his particular house- 
hold, but, with a complacency which 
is not unbecoming to him, and per- 
fectly natural, he dispenses with all 
secondary motives, and with sin- 
cerity and modest self-appreciation 
presents himself, as one worthy of 
its study, to the universe. And his 
confidence has been entirely justi- 
fied. No chapter in his great work 
has been more read and admired 
than that which tells his own 
story, and how that great work 
came to . be written. There are 



passages in it which are as familiar 
to our ears as proverbial expres- 
sions. The words in which the 
comfortable fat gentleman dis- 
closes and describes that event- 
ful moment when the idea of 
writing a history of Eome first 
dawned upon hun, and those in 
which he sets forth his sensations 
at the moment of concluding it, are 
as well known as any passages in 
the English language. Thus we 
prove over again what has been so 
often said, Uiat a glimpse into a 
man's mind, a real portrait of a 
human creature great or small, is 
one of the greatest pleasures we can 
receive. It is not necessary even 
that the portrait should be of an 
elevated and remarkable person, or 
of one already known to us, or tiiat 
the life should contain great and 
varied interests. There is a picture 
in our National Gallery at which 
many a spectator gazes with sym- 
pathy and interest. It is a por- 
trait without any name — a pen- 
sive face disclosing a character 
somewhat feeble, weak-kneed, in- 
articulate. The original does not 
seem to have found his life a very 
satisfactory one. No wonder, for 
he was but a tailor; and though 
the medieval times in which he 
lived must have furnished many 
alleviations in rich colour and quaint 
design to the monotony of the 
trade, its disabilities were probably 
greater in those aristocratical ages 
than now. But we look at him 
with more than mere admiration 
for a picture, with a distinct sense 
of human fellowship. To see him, 
with his scissors, looking out at us, 
modestly, humbly, with a depreca- 
tory consciousness of being but a 
poor sort of fellow to have survived 



230 



Autohiographiea. 



[Aug. 



80 many yiciBsitiides and centuries, 
is, humble though he be, a touching 
sight. And who is there who 
could resist that loftier counte- 
nance, in the same collection — ^the 
dark, soft, pathetic, almost beseech- 
ing face of the Florentine Andrea, 
the great painter but feeble soul, 
whose sad story of vacillation and 
moral failure, deepened by a never- 
failing consciousness of the higher 
truth he could not hold by, is writ- 
ten in his eyes ? Such studies from 
the life are above Art. Our 
steady-going historian has nothing 
in him of the poem of self-abase- 
ment and moral despair which is in 
the looks of Andrea, and it would 
be unworthy of Mr Gibbon's dig- 
nity to compare him to Moroni's 
inoffensive tailor ; but nevertheless 
his sketch is like them, — valuable, 
not for the kind of being it depicts, 
but because it does depict a real 
kind of being, bringing us into 
distinct contact with him, and afford- 
ing a clear perception of his qualities. 
The figure is a dapper figure, 
neither heroic nor melancholy, but 
self-sufficient, self-approving, thor- 
oughly comfortable and satisfied 
with a world which, on the whole, 
had proved to him the best of all 
possible worlds, though it gave him 
not very much, no supreme joy or 
rapture, nothing beyond a reason- 
able level of wdlbeing, with plenty 
of food for the intellectual curiosity 
which was in him, and excellent 
prose compensation for his labours. 
This is not enough for many 
smaller persons ; but it was enough 
for Gibbon, who had no fantastic 
desires or imaginations. He was 
the son of a family which, without 
any brag of its importance or an- 
tiquity, he is able to trace back 
with satisfaction for a few genera- 
tions. His grandfather was a di- 
rector of the South Sea Company, 
and as such was forced by Act of 
Parliament to give up almost the 
whole of his fortune in satisfaction 



of the claims upon that chief of 
bubble companies. We are not in- 
formed how it was that the action 
of Parliament in the matter was 
necessary, or whether this was the 
beginning of that liability which 
has produced so much ruin in our 
own day, and against which the de- 
vice of a responsibility ^'limited^has 
been invented to afford a safeguard. 
The Gibbon of the South Sea Com- 
pany was, however, it is evident, 
one of those irrepressible mercan- 
tile men who seem to thrive upon 
failure, for he ended as rich as he 
was before, having fully re-estab- 
lished his fortunes. His son, as 
was natural, was of another temper, 
and spent what the father had 
gained. He sat in Parliament for 
many years, joining the Tory party, 
as Gibbon explains, out of the vig- 
orous hatred he had for Sir Robert 
Walpole and the party which had 
confiscated his father's goods for 
the advantage of his creditors. 
''Without acquiring the fame of 
an orator or statesman, he eager- 
ly joined in the great opposition 
which, after a seven years' chase, 
hunted down Sir Eobert Walpole ; 
and in the pursuit of a populi^ 
Minister he gratified a private re- 
venge against the oppressor of his 
family in the South Sea persecu- 
tion." The historian finds this sen- 
timent very legitimate, and states 
it with historical calm. He was 
himself the only surviving child 
of this avenger of family wrongs, 
whose position, notwithstanding an 
over-prodigality in youth, was good 
enough to secure all the advan- 
tages of a luxurious bringing-up to 
his son. His reflections upon his 
oym good fortune in the article 
of birth are of the most edifying 
kind. Dr Watts has expressed the 
sentiment in a more popular form, 
but the delightful complacency of 
his Christian child in respect to its 
own antecedents is identical with the 
satisfaction of the great bistorian. 



1881.] 



No, IV. — Edward Gibbon. 



231 



** My lot," says Gibbon, " might 
have been that of a slave, a savage, 
or a peasant : nor can I reflect with- 
out pleasure on the bounty of 
nature, which cast my birth in a 
free and civilised country, in an 
age of science and philosophy, in 
a family of honourable rank and 
decently endowed with the gifts 
of fortune." A gentle regret crosses 
bis mind on looking back. His 
five brothers he does not pretend 
to lament, but the sister who died 
also in infancy calls up in him a 
sense of want. The relation of a 
brother and sister is a beautiM 
tie. It is 'Hhe sole species of 
Platonic love that can be in- 
dulged in with truth and without 
danger," he says; and he regrets 
that this tender and delightful com- 
panionship never fell to his lot. It 
IB the only regret he expresses. 
But the circumstances of his child- 
hood were somewhat peculiar. His 
mother had not time to bestow 
upon her sickly boy. She died 
early, and during her lifetime was 
frequently ill, and she had '* an 
exclusive passion for her husband." 
But she had at the same time — an 
institution which careless mothers 
should cultivate — a sister, '' at whose 
name," says the great writer of fifty- 
two, ''I feel a tear of gratitude 
trickle down my cheek." " If there 
be any, as I trust there are some," 
he adds, ^' who rejoice that I live, 
to that dear and excellent woman 
they must hold themselves indebt- 
ed." His aunt was the mother of 
his mind and the salvation of his 
delicate frame. He was a weakly 
boy, for whom education of the usual 
kind was impracticable. School 
was tried, but in vain. Like Cow- 
per, he remembered with horror the 
direful experiences of that inefiec- 
tual and interrupted training : like 
Buckle, he learned to read and 
think and discuss, at a very early 
age, books which are in general 
left to mature intellects. ''Every 



time I have since passed over 
Putney Common," he tells us, 
''I have always noticed the spot 
where my mother, as we drove 
along in the coach, admonished 
me that I was now going into 
the world, and must learn to think 
and act for myself." He was but 
eight years old when this crisis 
arrived. At ten he was brought 
home again upon the death of his 
mother, and recalls his first meet- 
ing with his father, with all the 
distant distinctness of a childish 
memory, bewildered and awestrick- 
en by a grief he was too young to 
comprehend, as a scene he could 
never forget. " The awful silence ; 
the room hung with black ; the mid- 
day tapers; his sighs and tears; his 
praises of my mother, a saint in 
heaven ; his solemn adjuration that 
I would cherish her memory and 
imitate her virtues; and the fer- 
vour with which he kissed and 
blessed me as the sole surviving 
pledge of their loves." Perhaps a 
man requires to be a celibate, with- 
out after-ties that take the place of 
those early ones, or the chance of 
seeing his own childhood obliter- 
ate itself in the more interesting 
childhood of his child, to preserve 
this clear far-off freshness of recol- 
lections, those scenes like pictures, 
in which he himself stands bewil- 
dered, yet so profoundly conscious. 
It is curious to note how much more 
keen is the memory, how much more 
distinct all the personal details of 
recollection, in the minds of those 
who have kept themselves intact, so 
to speak, and have never lost their 
childish individuality. The man, 
and more especially the woman, 
who has married, and confused 
the remembrance of early days 
with so many recollections more 
poignant — has a memory of a totally 
different quality from that of the 
virginal old age which has never 
retraced its first impressions with 
others more important. Gibbon 



232 



Autobiographies, 



[Aug. 



and Cowper and Buckle are' all of 
this Btamp. To leave our pensive 
poet between these two brother 
philosophers is unfortunate; but 
in this one particular they resem- 
ble each other. But Gibbon was 
happier than Cowper. His aunt 
took for him the place of the 
mother, whom already she had 
supplanted in the child's life ; and 
was made happy and delightftd by 
her companionship. The sickly 
little boy shot upwards like an im- 
prisoned plant towards the light, 
and came to premature growth and 
blossom. He read not only fairy 
tales, but works of classic inspira- 
tion under her soft and genial 
shadow. 

" Her indulgent tenderness, the 
frankaeas of her temper, and my 
innate rising curiosity, soon removed 
all distance oetween us. Like friends 
of an equal age, we freely conversed 
on every topic, familiar or abstruse ; 
and it was her delight and reward to 
observe the first shoots of my young 
ideas. Pain and languor were often 
soothed by the voice of instruction and 
amusement ; and to her kind lessons 
I ascribe my early and invincible love 
of reading, which I would not ex- 
change for the treasures of India. . . . 
Before I left Kingston School I was 
well acquainted with Pope's Homer 
and the 'Arabian Nights Entertain- 
ments,* two books which will always 
please by the moving picture of hu- 
man manners and specious miracles: 
nor was I then capable of discerning 
that Pope's translation is a portrait 
endowed with every merit excepting 
that of likeness to the originaL The 
verses of Pone accustomed my ear to 
the sound of poetic harmony : in the 
death of Hector and the shipwreck of 
Ulysses I tasted the new emotions of 
terror and pity, and seriously disputed 
with my aunt on the vices and virtues 
of the heroes of the Trojan war. . . . 
My grandfather^s flight unlocked the 
door of a tolerable library : and I turn- 
ed over many English pages of poetry 
and romance, of history and travels. 
Where a title attracted my eye, without 
fear or awe I snatched tne volume 
from the shelf ; and Mrs Porten, who 



indulged herself in moral and religious 
speculations, was more prone to encour- 
age than to check a curiosity above the 
strength of a boy." 

The group thus described is singu- 
larly attractive : the woman, middle- 
aged by this time, who had found 
in " the perusal of the best books 
in the English language " training 
and entertainment for an active 
and fine mind, at leisure from the 
more absorbing occupations of life, 
but with many of its cares upon 
her shoulders, and probably with- 
out much companionship that could 
satisfy her higher nature ; and 
the half-invalid child, precociously 
sharpened in all his intellectusd 
faculties, abstracted altogether from 
the realities, and existing in the 
ideal as only a child can, with en- 
tire good faith and realisation of 
every imaginative detail, " serious- 
ly disputing" over the merits of 
Homer's heroes, and forgetting Put- 
ney, where the sky was overcast 
with coming troubles, — make a 
pretty picture. Very soon, how- 
ever, the catastrophe came. The 
grandfather, of whom we have 
no further particulars, was ruined 
in trade, and Gibbon's aunt, Cather- 
ine, '* the true mother of his soul," 
as he calls her, was left destitute. 
Whether it was with special refer- 
ence to her invalid boy or not, it is 
at least certain that the high-spirited 
woman, looking about for some way 
to maintain herself, fixed upon that 
of keeping a boarding-house for 
Westminster School, where the 
little Edward was placed under her 
care, and an attempt made to keep 
him at the ordinary studies there. 
ITotwithstandiDg his aunt's care, 
however, the attempt failed. He 
adds various sententious remarks as 
to the character of public schools, 
to the account of his own failure ; 
but perhaps a youth to whom 
school was a weariness, was not 
best adapted to form a judgment. 
Hia health made the studies of 



.1881.] 



No. IV.— Edward Gibbon. 



23S. 



TVestminster, whether good or had 
in themselves, impossible^ and the 
boy was transferred to a private 
tutor. When this tutor was found 
incapable, the father, bewildered, 
and evidently losing his head in 
his perplexity, suddenly carried off 
his ailiDg uneducated son to Oxford, 
of all places in the world, where he 
matriculated and became a gentle- 
man-commoner at Magdalen Col- 
lege, in the fifteenth year of his age. 
Such things have been before now; 
and the young prodigies who took 
this position before they were out 
of their childhood, have developed 
into great scholars, as their natural 
bias led them. But Gibbon was 
no scholar. He had little Latin, 
and less Greek, when he invaded 
prematurely these classic shades. 
A strange little student ! with his 
head fall and running over with 
the lore which was to be his future 
occupation in life, but all untrained 
in the classical instruction which 
was the special distinction of the 
university. Never was a child more 
emphatically the fstther of the man. 
He had read greedily every histori- 
cal work that had fallen into his 
hands, receiving all kinds of hetero- 
geneous food, and the theories of 
adverse historians, of which he was 
too young to comprehend even the 
complete diversity. " Instead of 
repining," he says, *'at my long 
and frequent confinement to the 
chamber or the couch, I secretly 
rejoiced in these infirmities, which 
delivered me from the exercises of 
the school and the society of my 
equals." How were tame lessons 
and dreary lexicons to be sup- 
ported by an intelligence which 
already felt itself free to rove as 
an equal, as a critic and judge, 
among the great authorities of his- 
torical science? '^In my childish 
balance," he confesses, '' I presumed 
to weigh the systems of Scaliger 
and Petavius, of Marsham and of 
I^ewton^ which I could seldom 



study in the originals; and my sleep 
has been disturbed by the difficulty 
of reconciling the Septuagint with 
the Hebrew computation. I ar- 
rived at Oxford with a stock of 
erudition that might have puzzled 
a doctor, and a degree of ignorance 
of which a schoolboy would have 
been ashamed." 

The reader will find in the life 
of Buckle almost an exact reproduc- 
tion of this precocious, presumptuous 
young reader, leaping over all the- 
early discipline by which the mind 
is strengthened and restrained, and 
setting up with the temerity of 
childhood a standard of his own. 
Buckle, too, had the sprightly intelli- 
gence of a woman, his most tender 
nurse and protector, to stimulate and 
encourage him, and shared his 
studies with his mother, as Gibbon 
did with his aunt. Fortunately,, 
however, for the latter, he was de- 
livered from the crude opinions and 
self-willed theories which have 
taken so much from the weight of 
Buckle's often brilliant but always 
one-sided philosophy, by an interval 
of compulsory self-denial and hard 
work. This was not, it is hardly 
necessary to say, at Oxford. Gibbon 
describes his entry into the life of 
the famous university with a mix- 
ture of suppressed spite and desire 
to appear candid and to be just 

"At the distance of forty years," 
he says, "I still remember my first 
emotions of surprise and satisfaction. 
In my fifteenth year I found myself 
suddenly raised from a boy to a man ^ 
the persons whom I respected as mv 
superiors in age and academical rank 
entertained me with every mark of 
attention and civility ; and my vanity 
was flattered bv the velvet cap and 
silk gown whicn distinguish a gentle- 
man-commoner from a plebeian student 
A decent allowance, more money than 
a schoolboy had ever seen, was at my 
own disposal. . . . A key was delivered 
into my hands, which cave me the free 
use of a numerous and learned librarv : 
my apartment consisted of three ele- 
gant and well-furnished rooms in the 



2U 



Autobiographies, 



[Aug. 



new building — a stately pile — of Mad- 
dalen College ; and the adjacent walks^ 
had they been frequented by Plato's 
disciples, might have been compared 
to the Attic shade on the banks of 
the Ilissus." ' 

In that fine scene, with so many 
classic associations, — the walks to 
which Addison's name gives a 
gentle charm of pensive thoughts ; 
the slowly flowing, silent stream 
stealing by to Isis; the stately 
deer-park behind ; the grey tower, 
so finely poised and full of grace, 
crowning the sacred chapel and 
studious chambers; and nothing 
but learned seclusion and tranquil- 
lity about, — could there be a more 
perfect home of wisdom and science) 
But when one recalls the little, 
fastidious, self-willed, sickly boy, 
too young to feel the charm, left 
alone in his three elegant rooms, 
with his pile of English books and 
detested manuals of the classic 
languages, perplexed and lonely, 
and out of his element, it is im- 
possible to think of him otherwise 
than with pity. He spent fourteen 
months in the midst of these ac- 
cessories, which were far too much 
for the instruction they accom- 
panied, or were supposed to accom- 
pany. Even at so long a distance 
of years it is difficult for him to 
abstain from a murmur of irritation. 
" To the University of Oxford I 
acknowledge no obligation/' he 
cries, calling upon the reader to 
decide between the school and the 
scholar: "I cannot affect to be- 
lieve that nature had disqualified 
me for all literary pursuits. " When- 
ever he approaches this subject there 
is a tone of resentment in his voice. 
His description of the college life 
of his time is penetrated by this dis- 
dainful irritation : — 

" The Fellows or monks of my time 
were decent easy men, who supinely 
enjoyed the gifts of the founder : their 
days were filled by a series of uni- 
form employments — the chapel and 



the hall, the coffee-house and the com- 
mon-room, till they retired, weary and 
well satisfied, to a long slumber. From 
the toil of reading, writing, or think- 
ing, they had absolved their con- 
sciences ; and the first shoots of learn- 
ing and ingenuity withered on the 
ground, without yielding any fruits 
to the owners or the public. As a gen- 
tleman-commoner, I was admitted to 
the society of the Fellows, and fondly 
expected that some questions of liter- 
ature would be the amusing and in- 
structive topics of their discourse. 
Their conversation stagnated in a 
round of college business, Tory poli- 
tics, ][>ersonal anecdotes, and private 
scandal : their dull and deep potations 
excused the brisk intemperance of 
youth." 

This description is touched with 
an underlying sense of grievance 
which it is curious to note. The 
irritating sense that the university, 
which so many of her disciples 
praise, was to him nothing at all — 
the waste of those means, which 
should have been of so much ad- 
vantage to him — ^weighs upon his 
mind; even when he has out- 
grown all its harm, the conscious- 
ness of injury still hangs about 
him. '' It is whimsical enough, that 
as soon as I left Magdalen Col- 
lege my taste for bookis began to 
revive," he says. In the long va- 
cation he even began to write ; but 
on returing to college gave up " The 
Age of Sesostris," which was the 
ambitious subject he had chosen. 
The state of things which he de- 
scribes has long ceased to be; no 
privileged gentlemen - commoners 
with velvet cap or gold tuft, are 
now to be seen among the glades of 
Maudlin ; the dons are of a very dif- 
ferent class &om those whose ''dull 
and deep potations " astonished the 
boy. But still there are some, no 
doubt, who find their ''taste for 
books begin to revive " when they 
get clear of the venerable spires, 
and leave the atmosphere of learn- 
ing for that of common life. Why 
this should be is not a question to 



1881.] 



No. lY.— Edward Gibbon. 



235 



be here discussed ; but it is aston- 
ishing and strange to note how 
many of the great names in litera- 
ture are unadorned by any academ- 
ical degree. Gibbon's was precisely 
the kind of mind, one would have 
thought, to take kindly to university 
life. Perhaps he would have done 
so had he entered the university at 
a more suitable age. As it is, he 
adds another to the long list of 
eminent names which have derived 
neither advantage nor credit from 
their temporary connection with the 
acknowledged fountain - heads of 
learning. 

Gibbon's departure from Oxford 
was precipitated by what is one of 
the most remarkable episodes in his 
life. He— the future sceptic and 
philosopher, the great critic of 
Christianity and reviler of its teach- 
ings — ^in after -days an impersona- 
tion of the angry and contemptuous 
unbelief of his century, — was for 
once in his life the subject of an 
attack of religious enthusiasm, such 
as might have befallen a youth of 
Newman's days, drawn into the 
sweeping current of influence which 
marked that great man's track. 
There never was a more unlikely 
disciple ; and the manner in which 
the youth was led to this develop- 
ment of faith was as improbable as 
the fact. No proselytising influ- 
ence of the common sort comes 
into view at all in the process. He 
knew nobody, saVe " a young gen- 
tleman of our college," who had 
any Eoman Catholic tendency; and 
was soiiar from being persuaded by 
any priest, that he had to ask a 
bookseller in London to introduce 
him to the unknown ecclesiastic 
who, somewhat reluctantly, admit- 
ted him to the Church of Eome — 
for this was the direction in which 
the current of his youthful impulse 
set. Dr Middleton's 'Vindication 
of Free Inquiry ' had " sounded an 
alarm in the theological world;" 
and Oxford, frightened and heated. 



but feeble and inconclusive, had 
risen in defence of the faith, awak- 
ening at least a general stir on the 
subject. Young Gibbon, glad of 
any pretext to escape from Greek 
and Latin, and "fond" from his 
childhood **of rehgious disputa- 
tions," was greatly moved by the 
quarrel. "The blind activity of 
idleness urged me to advance with- 
out armour into the dangerous mazes 
of controversy," he says. He read 
the sceptic's book; and it would 
have been very natural to suppose 
that it was this which determined 
the views of his after-life. But 
nothing could be further from the 
real case. Catherine Porten's pupil, 
who had talked with that tender 
guardian on every subject in earth 
and heaven, and no doubt with 
the sympathetic feeling of a child,, 
had shared many a pensive aspir- 
ation towards those skies in wHch 
sorrow and partings are no more, 
— had all the warmth of youthful 
certainty in spiritual wonders, and 
held by miracles and divine agency 
as the foundation of faith. Dr 
Middleton's assault upon these su- 
pernatural proofs of the truth of 
Christianity, instead of persuading, 
revolted the young reader, and sent 
him in the recoil to the other 
extremity. He was offended and 
horrified by animadversions upon the 
saints, and only so far convinced, 
in a sense totally different from 
that intended by the writer, as to 
perceive that these saints and sages 
were more closely identified with 
the Eomish creed than he had been 
led to believe. The inferences 
he drew were not that they were 
wrong, but that the Church of 
Kome was right ; and when he 
turned to the works of Bossuet, 
which he procured from that 
" young gentleman of our college," 
his conviction was complete. " I 
surely fell by a noble hand," he 
says finely, looking back upon him- 
self with an indulgent smile. And, 



336 



Autobiographies, 



[Aug. 



once convinced, it was natuial, at 
once to his ndnd and his age, to 
make his convictions puhlic One 
can imagine the fine sense of opposi- 
tion, of individuality, of nohle inde- 
pendence, which moved the youth as 
he took this step so prejudicial to 
his futuie. Ko one had anything to 
do with it in the way of persuasion 
or personal influence. Just as we 
have all felt, after an unnecessary 
and laborious defence of some point 
of doctrine from the pulpit, a mo- 
mentary inclination to adopt the 
contrary belief ourselves, so iMid- 
dleton's attack upon miracles, saints, 
and all the wonders of inspira- 
tion, drove young Gibbon into the 
Church which made the greatest 
demand upon the faith of its dis- 
ciples. It is a most curious episode 
in his life, and it drove him finally 
from his college : for Oxford, which 
could support with equanimity 
idleness, folly, and insubordination 
— even comfortable deism, or more 
ardent and conspicuous still, the 
creed of an atheist — could not put 
up with a Eoman Catholic con- 
vert ; its tendencies that way were 
all to come. 

Gibbon's father took the event 
with natural indignation and fury. 
He was wildly angry at the boy 
who was standing in his own 
light so dismally, and with whom, 
no doubt, he would have the worst 
of the argument, did he try to bring 
him round in that way. What he 
did was to convey his son to "the 
house of his friend Mr !Mallet," who 
had brought out the works of Bol- 
ingbroke, and was an advocate of 
free inquiry like Middleton, pro- 
fessing deistical opinions, or " some- 
thing more," says the commenta- 
tors — ^meaning, we presume, some- 
thing lees. No doubt the angry 
father supposed this violent alter- 
ative to be of a beneficial charac- 
ter, not suspecting that it was 
scepticism which had brought his 
son to be a Roman Catholic. 



The boy of sixteen, elevated thus 
into a martyr for the faith, was 
"rather scandalised than reclaim- 
ed " by the very contrary philos- 
ophy into which he was plunged ; 
and it would seem that the ex- 
periment, if ever intended to be 
carried on, was so unsuccessful as 
to be very soon abandoned. But 
Eomanism was in these days a 
thing to be got rid of at aU costs, 
and the new destination of the boy 
was scarcely less remarkable. The 
son of a wealthy or apparently 
wealthy Englishman of the old 
ChWch and King pattern, stand- 
ing by the Church as he did by 
all other old institutions, young 
Gibbon was now despatched into 
a nest of Puritanism and republi- 
can principles, the narrow circle of 
a little Swiss town, and the spare 
and unlovely living of a poor Swiss 
minister's house. In the calm of 
his narrative, the sensations with 
which he made this change are set 
forth without any but the faintest 
reflection of the emotions which 
must have accompanied it ; with that 
half-humoroua, half-regretful pleas- 
ure in the recollection of feelings 
so vivid, which is natural in a 
mature mind when surveying the 
sentiments of its youth. 

"The first marks of my father's 
displeasure rather astonished than 
aflfccted me. When be threatened to 
banish and disown and disinherit a 
rebellious son, I cherished a secret 
hope that he would not be able or 
willing to effect his menaces ; and the 
pride of conscience encouraged me to 
sustain the honourable and important 
part I was now acting. My spirits 
were raised and kept alive by the rapid 
motion of my journey, the new and 
various scenes of the Continent, and 
the civility of Mr Frey [who accom- 
panied him], a man of sense, who was 
not ignorant of books and of the world. 
But after he had resigned me into 
Pavilliard's hands, and I was fixed in 
my new habitation, I had leisure to 
contemplate the strange and melan- 
choly prospect before me." 



1881.] 



iVb. IV.— Edward Gibbon. 



237 



Thus the boy's despair and an- 
gaisli is softened down in the tran- 
quil contemplation of the man of 
Sity, who IB aware that but for this 
painful change in his fortunes there 
never might have been a history of 
the Eoman Decline and FalL But 
it is easy to imagine what the real 
state of his feelings was when, after 
the excitements of the journey, and 
the '^honourable and important 
part " he had been acting in face of 
the opposition, so to speak, of the 
entire world, he found himself 
settled down — a mere rebellious 
schoolboy, to whom nobody paid 
any special respect — in a strange 
country, in an altogether different 
mode of living, turned back half- 
a-dozen years at least in his youth- 
ful career, admired by nobody, re- 
strained and impoverished, a man 
no longer, but only a petulant and 
unsatisfactory child. The fact that 
he did not ^ow the language add- 
ed the last touch of sharpness to 
the poignancy of this downfall. 

"When I was thus suddenly cast 
on a foreign Iwid, I found myself de- 
prived of the use of speech and hear- 
mg, and during some weeks incapable, 
not only of enjoying the pleasures of 
conversation, but even of asking or 
answering a question in the common 
intercourse of life. To a homebred 
Englishman every object, every cus- 
tom was offensive ; but the native of 
any country might have been dis- 
(^ted with the general aspect of his 
lodging and entertainment. I had 
now exchanged mv elegant apartment 
in Magdalen College for a narrow, 
gloomy street, the most unfrequented 
of an unhandsome town, for an old 
inconvenient house, and for a small 
chamber Ul contrived and ill fur- 
nished, which, on the approach of 
winter, instead of a companionable 
fire, must be warmed by the dull, 
invisible heat of a stove. From a 
man I was again degraded to the 
dependence of a schoolboy. M. Pa- 
viUiard managed my expenses, which 
had been reduced to a diminutive 
state. I received a small monthly 
allowance for my pocket-money ; and, 



helpless and awkward as I have ever 
been, I no longer enjoyed the indis- 
pensable comfort of a servant. My 
condition seemed as destitute of hope 
as it was devoid of pleasure. I was 
separated for an indefinite, which ap- 
peared an infinite, time from my 
native country ; and I had lost all 
connection with my Catholic friends." 

This trenchant and radical pro- 
cess, carried out with such inexor- 
able firmness, fully answered its 
purpose. In all its republican 
bareness and rigid imlovely life, 
the little old Swiss town became 
home to the young Englishman. 
When he was free to choose his 
dwelling long after, it was there he 
settled himself. His dearest friends 
and warmest likings were there ; 
and Lausanne, the place where his 
life took its permanent shape, 
where his first aspirations were 
changed and his mind turned into 
a different channel, and which he 
eventually selected as "the most 
grateful retreat for the decline of 
my life" — is for ever associated 
with Gibbon's name. The noble- 
ness of the surrounding scenery, 
the great lake, the greater moun- 
tains, and, in the midst, the quaint 
little unsympathetic town, keeping 
itself well up upon its banks with 
its garments gathered round it, in 
sublime human egotism and supe- 
riority to the landscape, bears an 
amusing likeness to the man and 
his subjects. The character of his 
genius, if it cannot be said to be 
shaped by the locality, at least fell 
in with it in wonderful harmony ; 
and it is difficult not to see a 
whimsical type of the great his- 
torian pursuing his vast and splen- 
did subject in orderly composure 
without excitement or enthusiasm, 
in the dull little town with its little 
coteries, its local intellectualisma 
and clevernesses, turning its back 
with something of the contempt of 
familiarity upon Lake Leman and 
^lont Blanc. The hard-headed 



238 



Autobiographies, 



[Aug. 



Swiss soon cured young Gibbon of 
that one little romantic-polemical 
episode of his life, his youthful 
adherence to the Eoman Catholic 
Church; and no doubt the same 
revulsion of the mind from a sub- 
ject too much pressed upon it, the 
turn and twist of a fastidious tem- 
per which made the perusal of a 
sceptical book his starting-point for 
Borne, turned the religiosity and 
rigid doctrine of the little Swiss 
circle into a school of hostility and 
aversion to Christian teaching alto- 
gether, in a mind so keen and un- 
sympathetic. But this was not an 
influence that told immediately. 
Almost as soon as the shock of 
the change was over, it became 
evident that Gibbon's father had 
been soundly inspired in his choice 
of the place and the man to give 
to his self-willed son the training 
which neither Westminster nor 
Oxford had been able to give. His 
new tutor understood the youth; 
appreciated his appetite for read- 
ing, and used it as his best instru- 
ment, leading him easily through 
his own favourite subjects to other 
necessary if harder and less con- 
genial themes, and finally awaken- 
ing in him a true sense of his own 
deficiencies, and of the indispen- 
sable foundations of all knowledge. 
He gives an interesting account of 
his progress, from history, always 
his favourite subject, to the French 
and Latin classics, and so gradually 
to the confines of Greek, which he 
himself at last perceived to be not 
only needful but highly desirable. 
" It was now," he says, *' that I re- 
gretted the early years which had 
been wasted in sickness and idle- 
ness, or mere idle reading ; that I 
condemned the perverse method of 
our schoolmasters, who, by first 
teaching the mother language, 
might descend with so much ease 
and perspicuity to the origin and 
etymology of a derivative idiom." 
He was happily only nineteen when 



he reached this point, so that on 
the whole not very much harm was 
done ; but he never seems to have 
forgotten his grudge against the 
modes of instruction in use at home 
which had retarded his education. 
His elaborate acknowledgment that 
it is possible the University of Ox- 
ford may have amended its waya 
since his time remains a very keen 
piece of satire. ** It will perhaps 
be asserted," he says, " that in the 
lapse of forty years many improve- 
ments have taken^ place. I am not 
unwilling to believe that some 
tutors might have been found more 
active than Dr Waldegrave and lesa 

contemptible than Dr ." And 

he goes on to compliment gravely 
Sir William Scott, " whose lectures 
on history would compose, if they 
were given to the public, a most val- 
uable treatise " — the only one appa- 
rently which in all that long period 
Oxford had produced — and to record 
the better regulations which, '* I am 
told," have been introduced at 
Christ Church. " A course of clas- 
sical and philosophical studies is 
proposed and even pursued in that 
numerous seminary; learning has 
been made a duty, a pleasure, and 
even a fashion ; and several young 
gentlemen do honour to the college 
in which they have been educated." 
It would be difficult to stigma- 
tise with keener severity the fail 
ure of an institution than by this 
serious and polite commendation 
of the '' seveial young gentlemen " 
who had done honour to the col- 
lege in the course of forty years, 
and the one valuable treatise which, 
if given to the public, it might 
have produced. It is the tend- 
ency of unsuccessful men to hold 
up the old schools, which have 
not succeeded in training them, to 
reprobation; but few men who 
have gained such laurels as Gibbon, 
take the trouble to put such grudges 
on record. This is how Lausanne 
exalted itself over Oxford. Private 



1881.] 



No, IV.—Edward Oihhon. 



239 



education will always have its tri- 
umphs over public ; but it is very 
seldom that there is not a little de- 
spite, a certain anger, a sense of 
unjust inferiority and wrong in the 
4xinmpb. 

More things than education 
brightened his Swiss life to the 
youth who had been a sickly boy, 
with a gloomy father, and a shut- 
up house, at home — knowing no 
genial companionship but that of 
his aunt, who was absorbed in the 
labours of a dame's house at West- 
minster, and had been, during all 
this Oxford episode, separated from 
him. When he had got over the 
first unfavourable impression of the 
*< unhandsome town," the gloomy 
street and inconvenient house in 
which he found himself planted at 
Lausanne, he found society open 
upon him. At the first glance 
there is nothing more bare, more 
devoid of all grace and lightness, 
than the life of such a house ; and 
there are many queer pictures in 
literature of the dingy rooms and 
uninviting table, the theological 
talk and narrow dogmas, of house- 
holds of this description ; but the 
pastor was a man of learning and 
intelligence, quick to understand, 
and cunning to take the young self- 
confident spirit in its own snare. 
And when an able and curious 
mind has been delivered out of 
idleness, and has a wholesome cen- 
tre of work put into it, amusement 
comes infinitely easier. Gibbon 
tried for a short time, he tells us, 
to indemnify himself for his ban- 
ishment by seeking the company 
of other idle young Englishmen on 
this vacant way about the Conti- 
nent; but he soon tired of those 
vapid companions, and, after the 
departure of his first acquaintance 
of the kind, was " cold and civil " 
to their successors. " My unfitness 
to bodily exercise reconciled me to 
a sedentary life; and the horse, the 

VOL. CXXX. — NO. DCCXO. 



favourite of my countrymen," he 
adds, with his usual keen but quiet 
satire, "never contributed to the 
pleasure of my youth." But, on 
the other hand, he acquired the 
habit of social life as yet unknown 
to him. He " frequented, for the 
first time, assemblies of men and 
women." He did not profit as he 
might have done in his dancing, 
but he learned to talk — perhaps a 
more lasting delight. And there he 
found a friendship which was the 
solace of his life. His friend never 
came to any reputation in the world, 
perhaps was not an intellectual 
person at all. He joined in young 
Gibbon's studies " with equal zeal, 
though not with equal persever- 
ance." But he was of as much 
advantage to the English youth as 
if he had been a Cicero. " To him 
every thought, every composition 
was instantly communicated ; with 
him I enjoyed the benefits of a free 
conversation on the topics of our 
common studies." Long afterwards 
when Gibbon was alone, and the 
master of his own movements, it was 
to this friend of youth, M. Dey ver- 
dun, that he turned ; and they lived 
together in the same house in bro- 
therly amity till the Swiss gentle- 
man died, and the self-exiled Eng- 
lishman was left alone in the world. 
A man capable of forming such a 
friendship must have had some 
warmth of affection in him. Gibbon 
had to all appearance a nature en- 
tirely without passion, but he must 
have been faithful and kind. If 
love was not for liim, yet friendship 
was strong in him. It is difficult to 
choose between the two which has 
the finer influence upon character. 
If love is more profound it is often 
narrower, shutting up the mind 
within a limited circle, and absorb- 
ing it in the welfare of a family. 
But not to make comparisons, the 
heart, which, with no self-interest 
involved, is capable of the lifelong 

<3 



240 



Autobiographies, 



[Aug, 



alliance of a Eupreme friendship^ 
must haTe depths and tenderness 
in it "which it is difficult to connect 
with the fonnal sedateness and self- 
occupation of the historian. This 
was the poetical side of his nature. 
He did not get through youth, 
however, without one small inevit- 
able chapter of romance. '' I hesi- 
tate/' he says in his sententious 
way, " from the apprehension of 
ridicule, when I approach the deli- 
cate subject of my early love j " and 
he explains with a little serious 
flourish what he means by love, — 
not gallantry, which is " interwoven 
with the texture of French man- 
ners," but a passion *' which is in- 
flamed by a single female, which 
prefers her to the reat of her sex, 
and which seeks her possession as 
the supreme or the sole happiness 
of our being." This neat eight- 
eenth century-definition of the sen- 
timent does not lead us to expect 
any profound absorption in it j and 
the air of gentle complacency with 
which Gibbon contemplates the in- 
cident across the long interval of 
placid years is extremely character- 
istic. He is pleased with himseK 
that he was capable of '' such a pure 
and exalted sentiment,'' and is hap- 
py to remember that he has no oc- 
casion to blush when he recalls the 
object of his choice. It was such 
a choice as a young man of his pre- 
tensions ought to have made. " The 
personal attractions of Mademoiselle 
Susan Curchod were embellished 
by the virtues and talents of her 
mind." Her father, another pastor, 
had bestowed " a liberal and even 
learned education on his only daugh- 
ter." " In her short visits to some 
relations at Lausanne, the wit, the 
beauty, and erudition of Made- 
moiselle Curchod were the theme 
of universal applause." She was 
^'learned without pedantry, lively 
in conversation, pure in sentiment, 
■aud elegant in manners." Such 
a gentle and faultless being might 



have furnished Ecusseau with a 
model for her countrywoman Julie, 
or Mrs Eadcliffe with a heroine for 
one of those novels which contain 
so many types of feminine perfec- 
tion, along with their wonders and 
mysteries. Perhaps the most sat- 
isfactory proof of Mademoiselle 
Susan's charms and endowments, 
and the one which most pleasantly 
excites the grateful complacency of 
her early suitor, is that she became 
afterwards the wife of Necker, and 
a very considerable personage. But 
no doubt, when they met in the 
little assemblies at Lausanne, the 
English lad, whose curiosity was 
awakened " by the report of such a 
prodigy," felt his youth stir in him 
underneath his laced coat, when he 
made his formal bow to the wise 
Swiss maiden in her hoop and 
patches, if such vanities were per- 
mitted in the pastor's household. 
They added, no doubt, some follies 
of their age to the strain of fine 
sentiment and eloquent discussion 
which flowed around ; and by-and- 
by the happy young man was per- 
mitted to visit her in her father's 
house, among the wild and pastoral 
heights of Eurgundy, where he was 
accepted as a suitor not unworthy, 
— and the parents " honourably en- 
couraged the connection.'' " In a 
calm retirement," says the hero of 
this chapter of inefiectual love- 
making, falling into fictitious in- 
flation of wordB in the conscious 
insincerity of the story, "the gay 
vanity of youth no longer fluttered 
in her bosom ; she listened to the 
voice of truth and passion, and I 
might presume to hope I had made 
seme impression on a virtuous 
heart." But alas ! when he returned 
to England he found the vanity o£ 
his hopes. His father " would not 
hear of this strange alliance \ " and 
without his father Gibbon had no- 
thing. He was not the man to 
beard fortune under any impulse, 
however strenuous; and he has left 



1881.] 



No, IV.— Edward Gibbon, 



241 



no record of any great mental com- 
motion on the subject The words 
in which he narrates the end of the 
episode are very well known. " Af- 
ter a painful struggle I yielded to 
my fate. I sighed as a lover ; I 
obeyed as a son." 

In this fine antithesis the reader 
will not, we fear, see much impres- 
sion of real feeling. A young lover 
who gives up his Susan so easily, gets 
little sympathy, even from those 
who would wish their sons in simi- 
lar circumstances to prove equally 
philosophical. The little rhetorical 
effort perhaps consoled him, but 
there is an indefinable consciousness 
that he was but a sorry fellow after 
all, though he makes the best of it 
in the tale. " My wound," he adds, 
''was insensibly healed by time, 
absence, and the habits of a new 
life. My cure was accelerated by a 
faithful report of the tranquillity 
and cheerfulness of the lady her- 
self, and my love subsided in 
friendship and esteem." But when 
he goes on to say that her father 
died, and that Susan had to come 
to Geneva and " earn a hard sub- 
sistence " for herself and her mother 
by teaching, while he at home lived 
an easy life, and grew fat and com- 
fortable, without apparently the 
slightest impulse towards the wo- 
man that he had supposed himself 
to love, Gibbon's historical calm 
grows somewhat odious. '' In her 
lowest distress," he adds, with an 
approval which, if the reader is of 
a warm temper, will make him 
long for a possibility of kicking the 
shade of the historian, even though 
there may not be de qnoi, "she 
maintained a spotless reputation, 
and a dignified behaviour." One 
wonders what Susan thought of it, 
earning her hard subsistence in 
Geneva, and remembering perhaps 
by times how the young English- 
man at parting had vowed and 
promised — who now was piously 
glad to hear that she behaved her- 



self so well in her misfortunes. 
But luckily Susan said nothing, 
and after a while married that rich 
banker in Paris, who " had the good 
fortune and the good sense to 
discover and possess this inestim- 
able treasure," says Gibbon, doing 
his praise handsomely, let us hope 
to conceal a little inward sense 
that he himself cut a poor figure in 
the business, — and became Mad- 
ame I^ecker, and entertained her 
old love amicably and splendidly 
in after-days, with excellent friend- 
liness, and perhaps a little secret 
contempt, as women will. 

This is the only incident in Gib- 
bon's calm and comfortable exist- 
ence which could have made his 
pulse beat quicker than its habitual 
pace. He returned to England at 
twenty-one, so that he had the ex- 
cuse of youth for faults supposed to 
be the opposite of those to which 
youth is prone ; but it would seem 
to have been some time after, prob- 
ably years, before Susan's fate was 
settled, and time, absence, and new 
habits had healed the young man's 
not very severe wound. He re- 
turned with everything done that 
his father had desired : his Eoman- 
ism gone like a dream, and prob- 
ably a good deal more with it, the 
departure of which was not di- 
vined at the time : his education 
advanced, his morals improved — a 
highly respectable Swiss young 
gentleman, with only the little 
drawback that he had ''ceased to 
be an Englishman." This is not a 
result which would be at all likely 
to be wrought now, by the absence 
of a youth from sixteen to twenty- 
one; but Switzerland was as far off 
England then as America is now, 
and much more unlike. His views, 
even his prejudices, had been altered 
by his absence. He passed the 
middle portion of his life in Eng- 
land, and did what was required of 
him, even to the length of serving 
in a militia regiment, of which he 



242 



Autobiographies. 



[Aug. 



was captain and his father major, 
with all dutiful regard to the legit- 
imate expectations of his firiends. 
Bat when circumstances gave him 
an excuse to retire from the insular 
world in which he had never been 
quite happy, he took advantage of 
the chance to return to his beloved 
Switzerland, to the very spot where 
he had been sent in disgrace and 
banishment in his early youth. 

We cannot attempt to enter into 
the record of his reading and studies, 
which were infinite. The man 
himself, more interesting, is but 
vaguely revealed to us in his for- 
mality and old-fashioned method- 
ical precision. He was eagerly 
delighted to see his aunt once more ; 
very dutiful to his father, and 
friendly to the step-mother who had 
in the meantime been added to the 
household ; ready to respond to all 
the calls of the two latter upon 
him, and doing his best to conceal 
his impatience of their demands 
upon his time, and the tedium of 
their rustic existence, far from town 
and its delights. Days broken in 
upon by interminable meals ; by the 
fact that " after breakfast Mrs Gib- 
bon expected my company j . . . 
after tea my father claimed my 
conversation and the perusal of the 
newspapers ; " studies of ancient his- 
toric relics, "abruptly terminated 
by the militia drum** — make up 
the record, and prove that though 
he was incapable of sacrificing his 
worldly welfare to love, he had the 
heart to make a great many daily 
sacrifices to the comfort of his home, 
and possessed in reality many 
amiable qualities. When he (with 
some trouble, for his family had 
settled out of town, and he had got 
out of the knowledge of his friends) 
made his way into society, he was 
not without popularity, though he 
was somewhat inclined to lay down 
the law. His appearance in the 
club, in the society of Johnson, to 
whom he made an excellent pen- 



dant and contrast, has been de- 
scribed with considerable effect. 
" In a suit of flowered velvet, with 
a bag and sword,'* fine in clothes 
and elegant in manners, he '' tapped 
his snuff-box, smirked and smiled, 
and rounded his periods" with 
a ''mouth mellifluous as Plato's,** 
but in appearance like "a round 
hole nearly in the centre of his 
visage.** Sometimes when spending 
solitary evenings over his books in 
his London lodging, and hearing 
the carriages roll outside, his studr 
ies would be ** interrupted with 
a sigh which I breathed towards 
Lausanne." And twice he broke 
away from his duties and occupa- 
tions, and visited the Continent, 
where he spent a month or two on 
both occasions with much enjoy- 
ment in Paris. Before his first 
visit, he had published his first 
literary work, which was written 
in French, the 'Essai sur Tetude 
de la Litt^rature ; * and this compli- 
ment, paid to the politest of nations, 
gained him favour, as well as the 
recommendations he carried. The 
description we have of him in the 
capital of good manners is agree- 
able enough. He was not a modest 
man, but his vanity was never 
offensive. He secui^ the atten- 
tion which he considered his due 
in the most legitimate way by 
''a conversation animated, spright- 
ly, and full of matter.*' If the tone 
of his discourse was authoritative, 
it seemed rather the result of con- 
fidence in himself than of a wish 
to domineer over others. His talk 
was formal, and arranged in carefnl 
periods, never carrying any one 
away; but it was the talk of a 
considerable person, fully aware of 
his claim to be listened to; and 
that claim was fully acknowledged 
in many of the best circles. 

From Paris he went back, ever 
hankering after that favourite 
abode, to Lausanne, where Susan, 
it would appear from a letter of 



1881.] 



No. IV,— Edward Oibbon, 



243 



Eousseau's, looked for Ids appear- 
ance still with a little trepida- 
tion, and her friends with in- 
dignant alarm. But Susan is not 
80 much as mentioned in the 
record, though the visitor pauses 
with much complacency to describe 
''the innocent freedom of Swiss 
manners," and his "favourite so- 
ciety" there, '' which had assumed, 
from the age of its members, the 
proud denomination of the spring 
(la socUU du printempd). It con- 
sisted of fifteen or twenty youog 
unmarried ladies of genteel though 
not of the very first families, the 
eldest perhaps about twenty, all 
agreeable, several handsome, and 
two or three of exquisite beauty. 
At each other's house they as- 
sembled almost every day, without 
the control or even the presence 
of a mother or an aunt. They were 
trusted to their own prudence among 
a crowd of young men of every 
nation in Europe." He hastens to 
assure us that this liberty was 
never marred by licence, nor sullied 
by a breath of scandal; but the 
pretty company and their light- 
hearted amusements — for ''they 
laughed, they sang, they danced, 
they played cards, they acted come- 
dies " — were delightful to the young 
man of letters, feeling himself, after 
his long banishment in his native 
country, to be once more at home. 
Eousseau's letter already referred to 
gives a less delightful glimpse of the 
visitor. "The coldness of Mr Gibbon 
makes me think ill of him," he says. 
" I cannot think him well adapted 
to Mademoiselle Curchod. He that 
does not know her value is unworthy 
of her j he that knows it, and can 
doubt her, is a man to be despised." 
Susan was toiling, making her "hard 
subsistence," in Geneva, within easy 
reach, while her former lover was 
amusing himself with the gay 8(h 
cUU du printemps. He had long 
ceased " to sigh as a lover," but he 
evidently had not yet made it plain 



that he meant to obey as a son. 
The reader who has accepted Gib 
bon's explanation, and concluded 
his love-affair to be long over, will 
probably feel a sensation of disgust 
for the man who had not feeling 
enough at least to keep out of the 
way and avoid a contrast so odious. 
It would be difficult to imagine 
anything more heartless; but pro- 
bably the self-complacent English- 
man, delighted with his gay young 
companions, was really unaware of 
this, and incapable of perceiving 
any harm in it. Next time he 
visited the Continent he was re- 
ceived by Madame JSTecker in her 
Parisian drawing-room, and ex- 
pressed with still greater compla- 
cency and self-sati^action the ad- 
miration he had always entertained 
for her. 

It was on this first tour that the 
idea of writing his great History 
occurred to him. An intention of 
producing some historical work had 
long been in his mind, and he had 
thought of various subjects, among 
which the history of the Swiss 
nation was the one that pleased 
him beet; but his first essay on 
this subject was a failure : and 
when he went to Italy the ques- 
tion was quickly decided. "It 
was at Home," he says, "on the 
15th of October 1764, that I 
sat musing amongst the ruins of 
the Capitol, while the barefooted 
friars were singing vespers in the 
Temple of Jupiter, when the idea of 
writing the Decline and Eall of the 
city first started to my mind." We 
can contemplate the historian in 
this scene with greater respect and 
S3rmpathy than among the village 
junketings of Lausanne. That 
magical city, all fallen and low, in 
deep eighteenth-century decadence, 
lay at lus feet, a slave of all nations, 
she who had been the Queen of the 
world at one time, and the arbi- 
trator of Christendom at another. 
Small sympathy had he for Rome 



244 



Autobiographies. 



[Aug. 



in that later development, yet the 
chant of the Franciscans struck his 
ear as adding to the picturesque 
effect, the pathos and solemnity of 
the scene. Ko douht the sun was 
sinking and the skies all aglow — a 
background of flame to those mel- 
ancholy memorials of greatness — 
as the vesper song stole on the 
enchanting air. For the moment 
the smug Englishman had a vision 
and inspiration. He returned to 
England next year, and for some 
time longer to his old bondage 
of domestic life, the country, the 
militia, and all his other hin- 
drances. But in 1770 his father 
died, and Gibbon was released. He 
settled in London as soon as cir- 
cumstances permitted, collected his 
books around him, and set to work. 
His French Essay — a curious be- 
ginning for an Englishman — had 
got him a little reputation; and 
the world of critics was already 
prepared to accept something of 
greater pretension from him. His 
beginning was laborious and anx- 
ious in the extreme. He could not 
please himself either in the arrange- 
ment of his subject or the style of 
his diction. " Many experiments 
were made before I could hit the 
middle tone between a dull chron- 
icle and a rhetorical declamation : 
three times did I compose the first 
chapter, and thrice the second and 
third, before I was tolerably satis- 
fied with their effect." He was by 
this time a man of thirty-five, in 
the full prime of his life, and fully 
alive to the gravity of the work he 
was undertaking. Though he was 
eager to take advantage of every 
aid, '* I was soon disgusted," he 
says, ''with the modest practice 
of reading my manuscript to my 
frienda Of such friends, some will 
praise from politeness, and some 
will criticise from vanity. The 
author himself is the best judge of 
his own performance: no one has 
so deeply meditated on the subject ; 



no one is so sincerely interested in 
the event." The first volume was 
published in 1776. ** So moderate 
were our hopes, that the original 
impression had been stinted to five 
hundred, till the number was doubled 
by the prophetic tasteof Mr Strahan," 
But the author was not kept long 
in the suspense, which he declares 
''was neither elated by the ambition 
of fame, or depressed by the ap- 
prehension of contempt." '' I am at 
a loss," he says, " how to describe 
the success of the work, without 
betraying the vanity of the writer. 
The first impression was exhausted 
in a few days ; a second and third 
edition were scarcely adequate to 
the demand, and the bookseller's 
property was twice invaded by the 
pirates of Dublin. [N.B. — It was 
the Irish— and also Scotch — pub- 
lishers who pirated literature in 
those days. America has scarcely 
as yet developed to this stage.] 
My book was on every table, 
and almost on every toilette; the 
historian was crowned by the 
fashion or taste of the day; nor 
was the general voice disturbed 
by the barking of any profane 
critic." To be sure, those Oxford 
dignitaries for whom Gibbon had 
so great and bitter a contempt, 
and the leaders of orthodoxy 
everywhere, rose up immediately 
against him; and with the in- 
genuous wonder of so many candid 
souls, when they have attacked 
what other men hold most dear, 
he was astonished that the Church 
and the serious classes should mind 
his assault upon Christianity. 
''Let me £rankly own that I was 
startled at the first discharge of the 
ecclesiastical ordnance," he says; 
" but as soon as I found that this 
empty noise was mischievous only 
in the intention, my fear was con- 
verted into indignation : and any 
feeling of indignation and curiosity 
has long since subsided in pure 
and placid indifference.'' 



1681.] 



No, IV,— Edward Gihhm. 



245 



The indignation here expressed 
seems a litUe out of place from a 
man who had opened the assault 
by so fierce and nncompromising 
an attack upon the Christian faith 
and traditions; but Gibbon was 
one of those men to whom their 
own acts are always lawful and 
natural, and those of their oppo- 
nents unjustifiable. He belonged 
to a period which recognised scepti- 
cism as the highest frame of mind. 
But while he treats his enemies 
with this contemptuous composure, 
his satisfieuition with himself and 
his work grows. 

" When I resumed my task I felt my 
improvement," he says. " I was now 
master of my style and subject, and 
while the measure of my daily per- 
formance was enlarged, I discovered 
less reason to cancel or correct. It 
has always been my practice to cast a 
long paragraph in a single mould, to 
tiy it by my ear, to deposit it in my 
memory, but to suspend the action of 
the pen untU I had given the last 

r)lisn to my work. Shall I add that 
never found my mind more vigorous, 
nor my composition more happy, than 
in the winter hurry of society and 
Parliament?" 

This brings us to the other side of 
his life. He had been in Parlia- 
ment for some years, and though he 
had not enough courage, or too much 
fastidiousness, to take any promi- 
nent part in politics, his steady, 
silent Tote, and his distinction in 
literature, indicated him naturally 
as the holder of a sinecure. He 
was appointed a commissioner of 
the Boturd of Trade, an appointment 
which enlarged his private income 
'''by a clear addition of between 
eeven and eight hundred pounds a- 
year;" and though " hostile orators " 
assailed this luxurious idleness with 
abuse. Gibbon, like most other 
kolders of such posts, turned a 
deaf ear to their remonstrances. 
*^ It must be allowed," he says 
humorously, ''that our duty was 
not intolerably severe." But days 



less bright were dawning. When 
the second and third volumes were 
published, the author, astonish- 
ed, perceived a certain "coldness 
and even prejudice of the town." 
They " insensibly rose in style and 
reputation to a level with the first j" 
but he owns with candour that ''the 
public is seldom wrong," and that 
he is inclined to believe they were 
more prolix and less entertaining 
than the first — which is a rare in- 
stance of open-mindedness. This 
little chill which came over him, as 
an author, was heightened in effect 
by the political troubles of the 
time. The Board of Trade was 
abolished, and Gibbon's "conven- 
ient salary " was lost ; and though, 
when the famous Coalition was 
formed, and all the landmarks of 
party were removed. Gibbon ad- 
hered to the Government " from a 
principle of gratitude," he adds that 
" my vote was counted in the day of 
battle, but I was overlooked in the 
division of the spoil" Probably he 
was offended by this neglect, perhaps 
moved by a nobler sense of the 
superior importance of those labours 
which it was in his power to pur- 
sue without reference to any Min- 
istry, without dangling in any ante- 
chamber. London had grown irk- 
some to him, and without that " con- 
venient salary," of which he had 
been deprived, he could not make 
such a figure as satisfied him in 
the dearest of capitals. In these cir- 
cumstances his heart flew again, as 
his imagination so often wandered, 
to the sunny banks of Lake Leman 
and the shelter of his youth — which 
he had "always cherished a secret 
wish might become the retreat of 
his age." His early friend, Deyver- 
dun, who had been with him fre- 
quently in England, and with whom 
he had always maintained the clos- 
est relations, was now settled in 
Lausanne, in a "pleasant habita- 
tion," which had been left to him 
by a relative. The accurate and 



246 



AfUobiograpliies, 



[Aug,. 



precise historian specifies the terms 
on which their future living was 
arranged, and the shares they mutu- 
ally took in the maintenance of 
the joint - establishment ; and in 
1782 Gibbon left London, and 
carrying his library with him, 
and the manuscript of his fourth 
volume, abandoned finally that Eng- 
land which he had never very heartily 
loved, and returned to Lausanne, to 
his village society, his tea-parties, 
his little coteries, to leave them no 
more. 

And here we come to a serene 
and tranquil picture of evening time 
and declining life, — although he was 
only forty-five when he returned to 
Lausanne, so that there is little 
occasion for the air of age and de- 
cline which is in the scene. He 
never repented his change ; but on 
the contrary, with all his old com- 
placence describes himself and his 
quiet ways and society as if there 
was nothing in the world so de- 
lightful as the dulness of old 
Lausanne. People have wondered, 
Gibbon allows, that after having 
conversed with the first men of the 
first cities in the world, he should 
be content with what he found 
there ; and it is with a curious pique 
and partisanship that he does 
battle for the superior attractions 
of his favourite place : — 

" I am too modest or too proud to 
rate my own value by that of my asso- 
ciates ; and whatever may be the fame 
of learning or genius, experience has 
shown me that the cheaper qualifica- 
tions of politeness and good sense are 
of more useful currency in the com- 
merce of life. By many conversation 
is esteemed as a theatre or school ; bat 
after the morning has been consumed 
in the labours of the library, I wish to 
unbend rather than exercise my mind : 
and in the interval between tea and 
supper I am far from disdaining the 
innocent amusement of a game at 
cards. Lausanne is peopled by a nu- 
merous gentry, whose compamonable 



idleness is seldom disturbed by the 
pursuits of avarice or ambition ; the 
women, though confined to a domestic 
education, are endowed for the most 
part with more taste and knowledge 
than their husbands and brothers, but 
the decent freedom of both sexes is 
equally remote from the extremes of 
simplicity and refinement.'' 

Thus it is evident there was 
no such place in the world as this 
cluster of homely roofs to Gibbon. 
" I enjoyed at every meal, at every 
hour, the free and pleasant conver- 
sation of the friend of my youth." 
He had an innocent elderly freedom 
of intercourse with the Swiss ladies, 
who no doubt gave him much of 
that incense which his soul loved. 
Neighbours came in to make up his 
game, to tell him all those simple 
news which are so important in a 
village. And, in shorty Gibbon in 
his library, with his friend, and 
with his surroundings just as he 
liked them, was as happy as it was 
in his nature to be. Here he com- 
posed the concluding volumes of 
his History, — a labour which gave 
zest to his life; and formed hi» 
judgment of the whole with an 
impartiality which is impressive. 
His record of the end of this great 
work is one of those passages which 
all the world knows. Here is the 
serene and dignified picture, just 
touched with a becoming sadness^ 
of the end of the great work and 
the completion of hw life : — 

"I have presumed to mark the 
moment of conception. I shall now 
commemorate the hour of my final 
deliverance. It was on the day, or 
rather night, of the 27th of June 1787,. 
between the hours of eleven and 
twelve, that I wrote the last lines of 
the last page, in a summer-house in my 

frden. After laying down my pen, 
took several turns in a herceau or 
covered walk of acacias, which com- 
mands a prospect of the country, the 
lake, and the mountains. The air was 
temperate, the sky was serene, the 
silver orb of the moon was reflected 



1881.] 



No, IV.—Eduard Giblon, 



247 



£rom the waters, and all nature was 
silent. I will not dissemble the first 
emotions of joy on recovery of my 
freedom, and, perhaps, the establish- 
ment of my fame. But my pride 
was soon humbled, ai^d a sober melan- 
choly was spread over my mind by 
the idea that I had takem an everlast- 
ing leave of an old and agreeable com- 
panion, and that, whatsoever might be 
the future fate of my history, the life 
of the historian must be short and pre- 
carious." 

Such were the thoughts that 
occupied his mind, and the sum of 
his natural, sad, yet not unpleasing 
reflections. This was all of which 
Gibbon's life was capable, and per- 
haps we have no right to think 
it smalL A big book, a pleasant 
house and garden, a dear friend — 
what could man desire more ? and 
the kind neighbours coming in, the 
women who had more taste and 
knowledge than their husbands : the 
grapes ripening in the vineyards, 
the snow glistening on the moun- 
tain-tops against the sky, and all 
the noises and strifes of the world 
at a distance shut out from the 
chastened yet homely calm. 

This was all Gibbon's life. K 
some of the keener joys of which 
humanity is capable were absent 
from it, it was sensible of no poig- 
nancy of sorrow. Later, he lost his 
friend; but being able to make an 
arrangement which kept him in 
possession of their joint - dwel- 
ling was comforted. As he closes 
the record of these uneventful 
years, he adds a few sentences 
which, in their quiet destitution 
of hope, would be profoundly sad, 
if we did not feci confident that 
the historian-philosopher was able 
to put them aside for the enjoy- 
ment of his dinner or his whist, 
as soon as the hour came for these 
sober delights. Here are the re- 
flections of the sage upon the end 
of his own life. 



^^ The present is a fleeting moment,, 
the past is no more, and our nrospect 
of futurity is dark and doubtful. This 
day may pomhly be my last ; but the 
laws of probability, so true in genera], 
so fallacious in particular, still allow 
about fifteen years. I shall soon enter 
into the period which, as the most 
agreeable of his long life, was selected 
by the judgment and experience of 
the sage Fontenelle. His choice is 
approved by the eloquent historian of 
nature [Buffon], who fixes our moral 
happiness to the mature season in 
which our passions are supposed to 
be calmed, our duties fulfilled, our 
ambition satisfied, our fame and for- 
tune established on a solid basis. In 
private conversation that great and 
amiable man added the weight of 
his own experience — and this au- 
tumnal felicity may be exemplified 
in the lives of Voltaire, Hume, and 
many other men of letters. I am far 
more inclined to embrace than to dis- 
pute this comfortable doctrine. I will 
not suppose any premature decay of 
the mind or body, but I must reluc- 
tantly observe that two causes — the 
abbreviation of time and the failure of 
hope — will always tinge with a browner 
shade the evening of fife." 

Autobiography can go no further. 
We leave the man, mature and 
famous, amid the still surroundings 
which he loved, an example far 
greater than he ever thought to 
oiBfer, of the imperfection of life. 
He had what he wanted —comfort, 
ease, society, congenial labour, and 
fame; but like other men, his 
little life is rounded, before the 
sleep, with a sigh. Instead of the 
fifteen years for which he looked 
he had but five : but that mattered 
little; he had attained all he de- 
sired or dreamt of, and additional > 
years would have added nothing 
to him. " My .nerves are not trem- 
blingly alive, and my temper is so- 
happily framed that I am less sen- 
sible of pain than of pleasure." In 
this sober negation is embodied the 
happiness of Gibbon's life. 



^48 



The Meiningen Company and the London Stage, 



[Aug. 



THE MEININGEN COirPANY AND THE LONDON STAGE. 



" Shakespeare nnd Kein' Ende" 
was, if we remember rightly, the 
name of a little sketch by Goethe, 
to whom the everlasting talk about 
the great poet had become intoler- 
able. But what would he have 
^d had he lived to see the flood of 
Shakespeare literature with which 
the press, and especially the Ger- 
man press, has continued to be 
deluged from his day down to the 
present 1 Forty-five closely-printed 
octavo pages of the last volume 
of the 'Annual of the German 
Shakespeare Society ' (Weimar, 
1881), scarcely suffice to contain 
the appalling catalogue of the 
additions to Shakespearian biblio- 
graphy which have appeared with- 
in 1879 and 1880. Ten pages 
are filled with the chronicle of 
merely German contributions to 
this " too, too solid " mass of com- 
mentary and analysis. But hap- 
pily for Germany, this activity has 
not been confined to the library. 
It has extended to the stage ; and 
in the same volume a catalogue is 
given of the performances of Shake- 
speare's plays in Germany from the 
Ist of July 1879 to the Slst of 
December 1880, from which it 
appears that within that period 
1143 performances of Shakespeare's 
plays had been given on the 
various stages of the German em- 
pire and of the German-speaking 
portions of Austria. " Hamlet" had 
been given 139 times, "Othello" 
113, "The Merchant of Venice" 
104. Next in popularity seems 
to have been " The Taming of the 
Shrew," which was acted 95 times, 
and at 60 different theatres ; whilst 
lowest on the list comes the Second 
Part of " King Henry VI.," which 
did not reach a second performance. 
It is remarkable that while " The 



Midsummer Night's Dream " found 
a footing in 30 theatres, and was 
played 82 times, " King Lear " was 
only performed 40 times, and "Mac- 
beth" 29, the former at 22 theatres, 
the latter at 1 7. " Much Ado About 
Nothing" and "Twelfth Night" 
appear to run each other dose in 
popularity, the former having been 
played 46, and the latter 45 times. 
But the finest comedy of all, " As 
You Like It," does not appear in 
the list. This says much for the 
good sense of German managers; 
for a Eosalind in the hands of such 
actresses as the Grerman stage can 
boast at the present time would 
be too painful to contemplate. Oh 
that some of our English managers 
would profit by the example, and 
repress the ill-advised ambition 
which prompts so many young 
ladies to don the doublet and hose 
of "heavenly Rosalind" without 
one of the qualities of soul or of 
person by which she brought sun- 
shine into the shady places, and 
filled with an atmosphere of en- 
chantment the woodl^md glades of 
the forest of Arden ! 

At the head of this movement to 
make Shakespeare known on the 
stage, where alone he can be truly 
known, seems to have been the 
Meiningen Company. For years the 
world has heard much of what these 
actors had been doing in this way 
in the little capital of their Duchy; 
and the result of their labours has 
within the past three or four years 
been communicated to many of the 
leading towns of Germany. * ' Julius 
C«e3ar," " The Winter's Tale," and 
" Twelfth Night," have apparently 
commanded the greatest success, 
having been acted during the last 
two years respectively 32, 29, and 13 
times at 8 different theatres. The 



1881.] Tlie Meiningen OoTrvpany and the London Stage. 



249 



•echo of the Meiningen Company's re- 
putation had reached England, and 
had been caught up with the alacrity 
with which we are apt to believe 
in the dramatic skill of every nation 
but our own. When, therefore, the 
Ducal Company opened their cam- 
paign at Drury Lane, expectation 
was highly pitched, and a welcome 
of more than wonted cordiality was 
given to the propagators of what we 
had been widely told was the true 
faith in regard to our great poet. 

It was delightful to see the mag- 
nificent stage of Drury Lane, best 
of all stages for the display of the 
qualities of a fine actor, filled in a 
manner which to many recalled per- 
formances that in past years had 
charmed the imagination and the 
heart, and to which they still cling 
with grateful remembrance. To 
the great body of the audience, who 
had no remembrances to look back 
upon, there was a novel charm in the 
completeness of the mise en sckie 
— the beauty of the costumes, the 
picturesque grouping, the thorough- 
ness with which the intentions of 
whoever presided over the getting 
up of the plays were carried out by 
all the performers. Under the in- 
fluence of this charm they were 
carried away into enthusiasm ; and 
everywhere one heard that never 
had so much been done to illustrate 
Shakespeare and to show him to the 
best advantage. Li their first ex- 
citement, people forgot that Shake- 
speare appeals to the heart and to the 
imagination j that he trusted little 
or nothing to what scenic accessories 
could do for his work; and that 
amid all this exuberance of scenic 
decoration, this restless activity 
of those picturesque crowds that 
thronged the stage and distracted 
attention from the central figures 
of the play, there was no little 
danger of overwhelming the poet in 
the splendour of the trappings with 
which he was invested. 



In falling into this excess of 
scenic illustration, the Meiningen 
presiding spirit has made the same 
mistake which has more than once 
been committed on the English stage. 
Until the days of John Kemble no 
attempt was made there either at 
archaeological accuracy or at fulness 
of illustration. Costume and scenery 
wore both of secondary consider- 
ation; and it speaks volumes for 
the genius of Mrs Pritchard, of 
Garrick, and others, that their audi- 
ences were so absorbed in the spirit 
of the scene by the actors' powers 
of expression, that they found no 
incongruity in Lady Macbeth ap- 
pealing, in a modem .hoop, to the 
''spirits that tend on murderous 
thoughts," to unsex her and turn 
her "woman's milk to gallj" or 
in Hamlet, following, pale, breath- 
less, horror-struck, his father's ghost 
to the battlements of Elsinore, in 
a black velvet Court suit and a tie- 
wig. The souls of the audience were 
riveted to the action of the scene, — 
voice, look, gesture were true to the 
situation. What the actor wore 
was of small account. But this 
was a state of things which could 
not last as men came to know 
more of the history of costume and 
the proprieties of scenic decoration. 
It was felt, that as a fine picture 
profits by an appropriate frame, so 
good acting was set off by adjuncts 
which gave local or historical truth 
to the scene, if only these were 
kept in due subordination. But the 
great size of the two patent theatres 
of Covent Garden and Drury Lane 
were in themselves a snare to those 
who wished to work a reform in 
this direction; for the temptation 
naturally was to make the scenery 
magnificent, and to fill the vast 
spaces of the stage with crowds of 
supernumeraries. 

Erom this snare even John 
Kemble, despite his educated taste, 
seems not to have escaped. His 



230 



The Meiningen Company and i?ie London Stage. 



[Aug. 



friend and warm admirer, Sir 
TV'alter Scott^ in his admirable 
review of Boaden's *Life of Kemble/ 
admits this much, and finds it not 
amiss to remind the playgoers of that 
day of the principle by which the 
treatment of such details ought to 
be regulated. 

"The muse of painting," he says, 
'^ should be on the stage the hand- 
maid, not the rival, of her sister of the 
drama. Each art should retain its due 
preponderance within its own proper 
region. Let the scenery be as well 
painted, and made as impressive, as a 
moderate -sized stage will afford ; but 
when the roof is raised to give the 
scene-painter room to pile Pelion 
upon Ossa ; when the stage is widened 
that his forests may be extended or 
deepened, that his oceans may flow 
in space apparently interminable, — the 
manager who commands these decora- 
tions IS leaving his proper duty, and 
altering entirely the purpose or the 
stage." 

Again, in the same essay, while 
admitting that the use of " dresses 
suited to the time and country, 
and of landscape and architecture 
equally coherent," must be of ad- 
vantage, Scott qualifies his admis- 
sion by insisting '' that this part 
of the theatrical business ^all 
be kept in due subordination to 
that which is strictly dramatic. 
Processions and decorations," he 
adds, '' belong to the same province 
as scenes and dresses, and should 
be heedfully attended to, hd at the 
same time kept under, that they may 
relieve the action of the scene, instead 
of shouldering aside the dramatic 
interest" 

If, as seems to have been the case, 
John Kemble occasionally over- 
stepped the boundary which true 
taste would have prescribed, he 
avoided this error as a rule in the 
plays of Shakespeare. Only in 
"Julius CflBsar" and in "Corio- 
lanus" did he fill the stage with 
crowds The management of his 



mob in " Julius Gsesar " was ad- 
mitted to be excellent by Ludwig 
Tieck, who did not admire Kem- 
ble's Brutus, which he thought, in 
the teeth of the opinion of all other 
critics, "was not acted, but only 
declaimed with intelligence." The 
scene of the mob, " the great Forum 
scene," he writes, " with its swaying 
to and fro from turbulence to <^dm, 
was extremely well given" ('Drama- 
turgische Blatter '). The costumes, 
too, he admitted, were excellent. 
But according to the same shrewd 
critic, Shakespeare was " shouldered 
aside " in "Coriolanus " for the sake 
of mere pageantry and spectacle, 
laige and important portions of the 
play being cut out for the sake "of a 
procession with trophies and eagles, 
which, entering at the back of the 
stage, and extending over its whole 
expanse, consumed a great deal of 
time." This procession, however, 
for which no fewer than 240 super- 
numeraries were employed, was in 
its day regarded as a perfect mir- 
acle of scenic splendour. People 
raved about it, as people raved last 
winter about the scenery and cos- 
tumes at the Lyceum in Tennyson's 
"Cup." But when it was first 
presented, with Mrs Siddons as the 
Yolumnia, there was something be- 
yond the mere pageant to justify 
their delight 

" In this procession," writes the 
Rev. J. C. Youuff, in his Memoirs of 
his Father, Charles Young (2d ed., p. 
40), " and as one of the central figures 
in it, Mrs Siddons had to walk. At 
the time, as she often did, she forgot 
her own identity. She was no longer 
Sarah Siddons, tied down to the direc- 
tions of the promptei's book — or tram- 
melled by old traditions — ^but the proud 
mother of a proud son and conquering 
hero ; so that, instead of dropping ea<m 
foot at equi-distance in its ^tace, with 
mechanical exactitude, and m cadence 
subservient to the orchestra, deaf to 
the guidance of her woman's ear, but 
sensitive to the throbbings of her 
haughty mother's heart, with flashing 



1881.] The Meiningen Company and the London Stage, 



eye, and proudest smile, and head 
erect, and nands pressed firmly to her 
bosom, as if to repress by manual force 
its triumphant swellings, she towered 
above all around, and rolled, and al- 
most reeled across the stage, her very 
soul, as it were, dilating and reeling 
in its exultation, until her action lost 
all grace, and yet became so true to 
nature, so picturesque, and so descrip- 
tive, that pit and gallery sprang to 
their feet electrified by the transcen- 
dent execution of an original concep- 
tion." 

Without this feature, it is easy 
to conceive how tedious and mis- 
placed this interpolated pageant, 
for which Shakespeare gives no 
warrant, must have seemed in the 
eyes of a critic like Tieck ; and yet 
we have heard the splendour and 
effect of this same procession de- 
scribed by eye-witnesses as casting 
into the shade everything of the 
same kind which was subsequently 
done either by Macready or by 
Charles Kean. Certainly no man 
had a finer eye for stage arrange- 
ments of this kind than Macready j 
no man could better put into his 
stage mob all the fluctuations of 
feeling, of passion, and of unreason 
by wMch the mobs of Shakespeare 
are swayed. In 1838 he got up 
"Coriolanus" at Covent Garden, 
when for the last time it was 
worthily presented in England. See 
what Miss Frances Williams Wynn 
says of the stage arrangements — 
and she had seen it under John 
Eemble's management, with his 
distinguished sister as the Volum- 
nia: — 

" I never saw a play so beautifully, 
so correctly got up. It was not only 
the costume, the scenery, the number- 
less accessories that were carefully 
attended to, but the far more difficult 
task of regulating the by-play of the 
inferior actors was also accomplished. 
The effect given by the number of the 
mob, by the variety of action, which 
seemed to give Shakespearian indi- 
viduality to every meniber of it, is 



251 

indescribable. The cowed, degraded 
appearance of the Volscians in the 
•mumph was very striking. Corio- 
lanus sitting at the hearth of Aufidius, 
was as fine a picture as can be im- 
agined." — ' Diaries of a Lady of 
Quality.' London, 1864, p. 304. 

Those who remember the Shake- 
spearian revivals by Mr Macready 
during his too brief tenure of Drury 
Lane Theatre, will recall many 
other instances of his powers as a 
stage director. His love of the 
picturesque was governed by a true 
sense of proportion. His acces- 
sories were kept in their place, not 
allowed to interrupt the action or 
intrude upon the higher interests of 
the scene. The movements and the 
general disposition of his crowds 
were as varied as those of a real 
crowd would be, while they all 
tended to stimulate and give ex- 
pression to the feeling with which 
the poet intended to animate the 
spectators. For it should not be 
forgotten that when Brutus or 
Marc Antony, for example, addresses 
the Eoman mob, it is to us, the 
spectators in stalls and boxes and 
galleries, that their words are ad- 
dressed. If we are not made to 
feel and to be swayed by their 
rhetoric, the primary purpose of 
the poet is missed, and all the 
agitation and tumult, the way- 
wardness and the shouting of the 
stage mob appeal to our eyes and 
other senses with comparatively 
trifling effect. Macready thoroughly 
understood this fundamental prin- 
ciple of good stage management; 
and in the latest instance in which 
his skill in this direction was called 
into play — the management of the 
tumultuous mob of Ghent in Sir 
Henry Taylor's " Philip van Arte- 
velde," — his fine perception of the 
point to which scenic accessories 
can be carried without injury to 
the higher interest of a drama was 
pre-eminently conspicuous. 



252 



The Meiningen Company and the London Stage. 



[Aug. 



In this quality Charles Kean was 
not less pre-eminently deficient, al- 
thongh for a time he took the town 
by storm with the redundant splen- 
dour of pageantry and spectacle, 
under which all that is most pre- 
cious in Shakespeare was smothered 
and obscured. Play after play was 
produced, in which every resource 
of the carpenter, the antiquarian, 
and the costumier was exhausted. 
The stage groaned under masses 
of supernumeraries too vast to be 
manageable, and only capable of 
following with dismal monotony 
the stereotyped action of leaders, 
alihost as guiltless as themselves 
of Intelligence and poetical feeling. 
Fascinating at first to audiences 
who sought only to l)e amused, 
this species of entertainment ended 
in palling even upon them, for it 
was impossible to find fresh stimu- 
lus to tastes that had been surfeited 
with the mere excitements of page- 
antry and costume. But this was 
not the only evil that resulted from 
a system, which was indeed " quite 
from the purpose of playing." Fine 
acting was absolutely incompatible 
with all this gorgeous splendour 
and mere appeal to the senses. 
The better class of spectators, those 
who reverenced their Shakespeare, 
were .driven from the theatre j while 
actors who aimed at moving the 
imaginations of an audience by the 
graces of speech and action, and 
by the careful development of the 
poet's purpose, were discouraged. 
\Vhat the effect has been upon the 
English school of actors has long 
been apparent in the all but total 
disappearance from among us of the 
power to put upon the stage any of 
Shakespeare's plays in a manner for 
which an educated Euglishman does 
not blush. 

To how low a pitch the standard 
of English acting in the higher 
drama is reduced was never more ap- 
parent than in "Hamlet," Othello," 



and ^' King Lear,'' as presented at 
the Princess's Theatre last winter, 
during the performances given there 
by America's finest actor, Mr Edwin 
Booth. With very few excep- 
tions, the performers were such 
as twenty years ago would not have 
found engagements at any of the es- 
tablished provincial theatres, much 
less have been tolerated on a Lon- 
don stage of any pretensions. None 
of the characters were made out, 
because none of them were under- 
stood by the actors themselves. 
The rhythmic value of blank verse 
was an idea which seemed never 
to have entered into their minds ; 
nay, the very rudiments of the 
actor's art — the management of the 
voice, articulate speech, appropriate 
grace or dignity of deportment, as- 
sumption of individual character — 
had not only never been mastered, 
but to all appearance were not even 
aimed at. And yet it was said at 
the time that every effort had been 
made, and no expense spared, by 
the manager to find the strong- 
est troupe that could be got to- 
gether to support Mr Booth. If 
this were so, pitiful indeed must 
be the resources available to any 
one who aspires to re-establish the 
old reputation of the English stage 
for the acting of a poetical drama. 
How grievously Mr Booth suffered 
frcm the incompetence of those 
around him, needs not to be told. 
Even genius on the stage cannot 
show itself at its best, when all 
around is feeble or absolutely bad. 
But to an actor of his stamp^ 
who charmed not by the flashes of 
genius, but rather by finish and high 
accomplisLmcnt, wrought of careful 
study and long experience, aided by 
a fine voice, admirable elocution, 
genuine sensibility, and the natural 
grace of a well-balanced and elastic 
figure, the results were simply disas- 
trous. Kept in a constant ttate of 
irritation by the bad actirg of those 



1881.] 



The Meiningen Company and the London Stage. 



25a 



who snrrounded him, the public were 
not always in the mood to do him 
justice, and visited upon him the 
sins for which he was not respon- 
sible. It indeed spoke volumes 
for the genuine merits of Mr Booth, 
that, in spite of every disadvantage, 
he established himseK in the esteem 
of the best judges of his art ; and 
indeed in certain passages — such as 
the mad scenes of King Lear — he 
rose to a height of excellence which 
explained and justified his great 
reputation throughout jAmerica. 
Xot for many a day has there been 
seen on our stage so fine an ex- 
ample as these scenes afforded of 
what the actor can do to irradiate 
the pages of the dramatist The 
most thorough student of Shake- 
speare would be the foremost to 
admit that Mr Booth threw a flood 
of fresh light upon these great 
scenes. His action, as he sat watch- 
ing the simulated vagaries of Edgar, 
with looks which, by their very in- 
teuseness of credulity and wonder, 
showed how his own reason was 
beginning to totter, — "my wits be- 
gin to turn," — was in the best style 
of the actor's art ; but there was an 
approach to genius— that rarest of 
gifts — in the portrayal of actual mad- 
ness in the subsequent scene, and 
in the way the actor used the hand- 
ful of straws which he carried to 
give to it the semblance of com- 
plete reality. At one time it 
became in his hand the bow to 
"draw me a clothier's yard," and 
send it home to the " clout ; " at 
another, each separate straw seem- 
ed to be to the poor mad king a 
livisg creature, against whom he 
launched the shafts of his sarcasm 
and railing. Such acting, once 
seen, becomes a permanent boon to 
the student. It clings to the mem- 
ory like something witnessed in act- 
ual life, being, as it is, a living com- 
mentary on the text, which, when 
cf this quality of excellence and 



truth to nature, outweighs all that 
can be done in the way of exposi- 
tion by the subtlest or most eloquent 
of critics. Admirable ap, in the 
main, Mr Booth's King Lear was, 
it did not maintain this high level 
of excellence throughout ; but this 
seemed to be due not so much to- 
any defect of conception as to a 
weakness of physique, possibly 
temporary, which prevented him 
from giving full force to the out- 
bursts of way ward anger, or adequate 
depth of pathos to the overflowings 
of passionate tenderness, which are 
demanded for a wholly satisfactory 
rendering of this character. We 
have called this weakness " possi- 
bly temporary," because it was well 
known that during the latter por- 
tion of this gentleman's perfor- 
mances he was suffering from a 
domestic anxiety calculated to im- 
pose a very severe strain upon a 
nature obviously most sensitive. 

It was fortunate for Mr Booth 
that he did not leave England 
without an opportunity of being 
seen under more favourable condi- 
tions at the Lyceum Theatre, where 
he alternated with Mr Irving the 
characters of Othello and lago. 
Very far short of excellence as the 
general performance of ** Othello" 
was at that theatre, still it con- 
trasted favourably with the cast of 
the same play at the Princess's 
Theatre. The Cassio, it is true, 
was colourless and commonplace; 
but the Cassio of the Princess's 
was simply an outrage upon pro- 
priety. On the other hand, the 
Koderigo of the Princess's was as 
far above the Roderigo of the Ly- 
ceum as an actor of average ability^ 
trained upon good models, is above 
one whose ability, such as it was, 
had obviously enjoyed no such ad- 
vantage. For Mr Irving and Miss 
Ellen Teny, it is needless to say, 
there were no count erpaits at the 
Princess's ; and in the Brabantio of 



^54 



The Meiningen Company and the London Stage. 



[Aug. 



Mr Mead — a good specimen of an 
actor of the old school — a striking 
contrast was afforded to the Braban- 
tio of the Princess's — an actor who, 
with some of the virtues, has jnst 
those vices into which the disciples 
of that school fall, who are without 
the sensibility and the fine intelli- 
gence which distinguished its lead- 
ers. Little as Brabantio has to do 
and say, that little, especially in the 
scene of the Venetian Council, is of 
radical importance; and in Mr 
Mead's hands not a point was lost 
He was just the father who, while 
by his own coldness and want of 
sympathy he had driven Desdemona 
to seek sympathy elsewhere, yet was 
cut to the very heart when he woke 
up to find that she had chosen a 
husband and a future for herself. 
When we heard, at the end of the 
play, that he had died of grief, we 
remembered how consistent such 
an ending was with the heart- 
stricken look and quivering tones 
of the actor, as he spoke the few 
significant words with which he 
resigned his daughter to Othello. 

Ko more marked contrast of styles 
could well be imagined than that be- 
tween the styles of Mr Irving and 
Mr Booth. The lago and the Othello 
of Mr Irving were both more calcu- 
lated to strike the imagination than 
those of Mr Booth, for in concep- 
tion no less than in treatment they 
were full of novelty, and enlivened 
by a minuteness of detail which ran 
over at times into something border- 
ing on extravagance. If Mr Booth's 
Othello wanted fire and force, Mr 
Irving's was without the exqui- 
site tenderness and the native dig- 
nity by which Othello maintains his 
hold upon our sympathies, in spite 
of the all but incredible credulity 
with which he allows himself to be 
made the dupe of lago. But of 
the two, Mr Irving's conception, 
upon the whole, seemed as though 
it would have come nearer to the 



Othello whom Shakespeare drew, if 
only nature had endowed him with 
the power to give utterance to that 
intense and concentrated emotion 
which is demanded for the volcanic 
passion of the Moor. As lago, 
however, Mr Booth's impersonation 
was much more likely than Mr 
Irving's to impress those around 
him with the belief of his ^' exceed- 
ing honesty." It had the outward 
semblance of frankness and geni- 
ality by which people are thrown 
off their guard, while the utter hard- 
ness of heart, and unscrupulous 
selfishness of the man, who has 
Siid to himself, "evil, be thou my 
good," flashed out upon occasions 
with tenfold force by contrast with 
the careless ease of his general 
bearing. Every word told without 
having undue stress laid upon it. 
Mr Booth's soliloquies were those 
of a man really thinking aloud, and 
they let the audience into the secret 
of lago's character, without any of 
those conscious asides and knittings 
of the brows in which only stage 
lagos ever indulge. About Mr 
Irving's lago, on the other hand, 
there was too much effort^ too much 
" affectation of a bright-eyed ease," 
too palpable a simulation of foppish 
jauntiness not consistent either with 
lago's character or position, too con- 
stant a desire to provoke attention 
when others were by. Along with 
this, the actor, it seemed to us, had 
recourse in his soliloquies to an ex- 
cess of little artifices, intended to 
give an appearance of spontaneous- 
uess to the act of thinking, but 
which produced exactly the oppo- 
site effect, while throughout there 
was too much of the crafty restless 
look and of the cynical self-gratu- 
lation, which are more appropriate 
to the villain of melodrama than to 
the smooth and ingrained hypocrite 
of the Machiavellian type. 

One advantage Mr Booth had in 
both characters over his brilliant 



1881.] The Mdningen Company and tlie London Stage, 



255 



coadjutor in his clear and musical 
utterance of Shakespeare'd verse. 
Nor was his example without a bene- 
ficial influence on Mr Irving, who, 
under it, seemed to shake off in 
no small degree that affectation — 
for affectation it is — of a mode of 
delivery which, however attractive 
to some, is a great drawback to his 
best performances. In Tennyson's 
" Cup," Mr Irving seemed to us to 
have already entered upon a new 
course in this respect. It was well 
for the poet that he did so ; for to 
our thinking not one of the resources 
of the actor's art but was necessary 
to give attraction to what, as a 
mere piece of dramatic writing, was 
of very ordinary merit. With the 
critics, Miss Ellen Terry's Camma 
carried off the honours ; but, with 
all deference to their infallibility, 
the poet owed much less to the 
Camma than to the Synorix of 
the Lyceum. In ordinary hands 
Synorix would have been revolting : 
this Mr Irving's skill prevented. 
He had obviously taken immense 
pains over it, and his performance 
was full of nice points of detail, 
which showed how much the actor 
had done to strengthen the work 
of the poet where it was weakest. 
The part of Camma is as gracious 
as that of Synorix is the reverse ; 
and the actress is assured of the 
sympathy of the audience from the 
first. Moreover, the poet has given 
her in the last scene a splendid op- 
portunity for that silent acting which 
is the test of true histrionic power 
— an opportunity, however, of which 
only an actress gifted with a poetic 
imagination could take advantage. 
Of the strange and deadly revenge 
devised by Camma, no hint in words 
can be given by the poet — for to do so 
would be fatal to the interest of the 
denouement But what the dramat- 
ist dared not do, the actress might 
and ought to have done, by making 
the audience feel through all the 

VOL. CXXX. — NO. DCCXC. 



early portions of the scene that she 
is possessed by some great purpose 
which shall explain the mystery of 
her consent to marry the profligate 
Tetrarch, the assassin of her hus- 
band. Again, when the poison she 
has shared with Synorix begins to 
take efl'ect upon Camma's brain, 
and she imagines she hears the 
voice of Sinnatus calling to her, 
voice and look and gesture should 
be such as to convey to the audi- 
ence the impression of a mind be- 
ginning to waver from the eff'ects of 
the draught, and of a frame slowly 
penetrated by the paralysing in- 
fluence of the poison. But on the 
occasions of our visits to the 
theatre, we looked in vain, in the 
impersonation of the actress, for any 
such clues to the language or pur- 
pose of the poet. What an actress 
of genius might have made of this 
scene it is impossible to say, but 
great effects have been produced 
in much less striking situations. 
As it was, however, not only this 
scene, but the whole play, viewed 
as a drama, was singularly ineffec- 
tive ; and but for the unrivalled 
beauty of the scenery, and the gen- 
eral excellence of the mise en sctne^ 
not even the curiosity and admir- 
ation with which ^Ir Tennyson's 
name invests all his work could 
have made it keep its hold upon the 
stage for any time. The Sinnatus 
of Mr Terriss was of great value in 
the general efl'ect of the piece. It 
was a thoroughly well made out 
sketch, and showed the abilities of 
this promising actor at their best. 

Since the dajs when Mr Mac- 
ready produced " Acis and Galatea " 
at Drury Lane, with Stanfield'a 
scenery, nothing so beautiful in 
mere scenic adjuncts has been seen 
in England. Nor was the selection 
of the costumes, and the disposi- 
tion of the priestesses of Artemis, 
who thronged her temple, less to 1 e 
admired. The latter would cer- 



25G 



The Meiningen Company and the London Stage, 



[Aug. 



tainly have been improved by a 
little of that variety of action, and 
of that highly developed skill in 
gronplDg, for which the Meiningen 
Company are conspicuous. And the 
accomplished director of that estab- 
lishmenty Herr Chronegk, has his 
company too well in hand for such 
a thing to be possible as that the 
high priestess of Artemis should, 
like her representative at the 
Lyceum, indulge her peculiar no- 
tions of the dignity which befits 
that office by sitting on the altar 
steps hugging her knees while a 
solemn ceremony is going forward. 
Keading, as the public had done, 
of Gamma's matchless grace and 
elevation — of the way in which 
she '' fell, as if by chance, into 
positions which rival the best 
of the Greek sculptures," — an ac- 
tion so contrary to every notion of 
what was appropriate to the char- 
acter and the situation, must have 
had a rather bewildering effect upon 
that portion of the audience who 
take au seneiix the commentaries of 
theatrical critics. 

In former days there was always, 
we have understood, some control- 
ling power in every leading London 
theatre, which would have made 
such an impropriety impossible, 
even if it had been attempted to be 
indulged in — which is most improb- 
able — ^by any member of the com- 
pany. There are innumerable signs 
that in most of our theatres no such 
control is exercised now ; and yet, 
without an authoritative voice to 
regulate every arrangement of the 
stage, one can very well see how 
vain it is to hope for that general 
excellence which, if it cannot in- 
spire an audience with enthusiasm 
— for this only genius can do^will 
at least send them away instructed 
and content It would be unjust, 
however, not to admit that such 
managers as Mr Hare and Mr Ban- 
croft do not merely recognise the 



necessity for such a control, but 
exercise it with rigour, and with 
the best results, to the reputa- 
tion of their theatres, and in 
the gratification of their audiences. 
" The study of perfection " would 
seem to be their law. What is the 
consequence] Simply this, that 
nowhere, not even in Paris, are 
pieces to be seen put upon the stage 
or acted with greater finish or vrai- 
semblance than at the St James's 
Theatre or the Hay market. The 
pieces themselves may be slight ; 
but, such as they are, they are ad- 
mirably given, and with a spirit, 
freshness, and individuality suffi- 
cient to show that, under favour- 
able conditions, a school of acting 
might be revived in England, 
capable of holding its own against 
any in Europe. 

One hopeful sign is, that our 
best managers and actors seem not 
to be above learning whatever of 
good their foreign rivals have to 
teach them. Lessons from abroad 
they have had in plenty during the 
last three or four years. Italy, 
France, and Holland have all sent 
to London excellent specimens of 
their various schools — ^none more 
excellent than the little troupe of 
Dutch actors who, last summer, sur- 
prised their much too scanty audi- 
ences by performances in which the 
fine qualities and great artistic skill 
of the leading artists were scarcely 
more conspicuous than the indivi- 
duality of character and pantomime 
by which every minor actor, down to 
the merest supernumerary, gave an 
air of reality to the scene as delight- 
ful as it is unwonted. By this 
example some of our theatres have 
already profited; and if English 
histrionic art has anything to learn 
from the Meiningen Company, it is 
in this direction also. 

Grermany, like England, has at 
this moment but few actors of mark 
in the poetic drama, and the price 



1881.] TUe Mdningen Company and the London Stage. 



257 



set upon the services of those few, 
there as here, puts out of the ques- 
tion any attempt to concentrate 
them in any one estahlishment. 
The Grand Duke of Meiningen has 
therefore wisely confined his e£forts 
in the cause of the drama to mak- 
ing the most of such talent as can 
he made availahle upon easier 
terms. lie has hrought together a 
company of actors of more than 
average ahility. He has given to 
them permanent engagements and 
every motive for working together 
in the friendly rivalry of true ar- 
tists, under the discipline of a stage 
director of paramount authority. 
Each is honnd to co-operate in 
giving strength to the cast of the 
pieces produced, hy taking, if neces- 
sary, a subordinate part in them, — 
a condition impossible in England, 
where actors judge of themselves 
and are judged of by the public 
according to the nominal import- 
ance of the parts in which they ap- 
pear; but practicable in Germany, 
where no such rule prevails, and 
where Schroder, the greatest actor 
of his time, when at the height of 
his fame, thought the Ghost in 
" Hamlet " a part not unworthy of 
his powers. No pains, apparently, 
are spared to make the members of 
this company respect themselves 
and the art which they profess. 
All that a liberal subvention can 
do is done to give richness and 
local colour to the appointments of 
the stage, and these are selected 
with a skill, and applied with an 
energy, which helps to keep alive in 
the establishment a spirit of emula- 
tion, and a wholesome pride in the 
successful results of a common effort. 
It was a bold enterprise to trans- 
fer to London not merely the actors, 
but all the scenic appointments of 
a theatre conducted upon such prin- 
ciples, and to place London play- 
goers in a position to judge of its 
merits and defects, as favoorable 



as though they had made a pilgrim- 
age to Meiningen itself. In the 
spacious area of the Drury Lane 
stage, the qualities in which these 
representations chiefly excel had 
ample opportunities for display. 
For, as already indicated, the 
strength of the Meiningen theatre 
lies not in the pre-eminent excel- 
lence of its actors, so much as in 
the pomp and prodigality of the 
scenic accessories. For this mode 
of treatment " Julius Caesar " afl'oids 
the fullest scope, especially during 
the three first acts. In them the 
mob of Kome play a not insignifi- 
cant part, and Herr Chronegk 
turned to the best account the 
opportunity of making them serve 
as a striking background to the 
main action. The wholesome opera- 
tion of a system which allows no 
point, however small, to be slighted, 
was at once brought home to the 
audience in the spirit and individu- 
ality given to those of the mob, to 
whom Shakespeare has assigned 
short speeches at the opening of 
the play. They were represented 
by actors well studied in their art, 
fit mouthpieces for the shallow, 
unstable mob, who were made visi- 
bly to wince under the taunts of 
Marcellus for the fickleness which 
had led them to bestow on Cresar 
the same acclamations they had so 
recently given to his rival Pompey. 
The key-note was well struck for 
what was to follow in the proces- 
sional entry of Cajsar, with an 
array of attendants wellnigh regal; 
and the striking figure of the sooth- 
sayer, with his single sentence, 
" Beware the Ides of March ! " 
admirably delivered, was a further 
proof of the care taken to give due 
efi'ect to the smallest incidents of 
the play by placing every character 
in competent hands. As the play 
advanced, the working of the same 
principle was everywhere apparent. 
In the scene with Portia (Act II. 



258 



The Meiningen Company and the London Stage, 



[Ang. 



sc. 4), and asrain in the Senate 
House (Act III. 80. 1), the sooth- 
sayer became a most imposing 
figure. Scarcely less admirable was 
the small part of Artemidorus ; and 
although the minor characters of 
Lucius, of CsBsar's servant, and 
other attendants, were intrusted to 
young women, probably from the 
impossibility of getting boys to fill 
them, the parts were really acted, 
the words were well spoken — not 
walked through and mumbled as 
is almost invariably the case upon 
our stage. Indeed, several of them 
were represented by actresses who 
subsequently acquitted themselves 
with distinction in important char- 
acters in the other plays of the 
Meiningen repertoire. 

For all this, every true lover of 
the drama felt grateful ; and scarce- 
ly less so for the beauty of tlie 
scenic arrangements — a very futile 
and misplaced attempt to depict 
what should have been left to the 
imagination, "the tempest drop- 
ping fire," and the general electrical 
disturbance, described by Casca, on 
the night before Caesar's death, ex- 
cepted. IN'othing but good, how- 
ever, is to be said of the manner 
in which the scene in Caesar's 
house and that of his assassination 
were presented, or of the way in 
which the grouping and action of 
the characters were described and 
carried out The actors wore their 
Eoman dresses well, and maintained 
each his own individuality in broad 
and marked lines. These scenes, so 
splendidly conceived by the poet, 
were, in short, presented in a way 
at once to stimulate and to satisfy 
the imagination. Not do we re- 
member to have seen a more im- 
pressive picture than when Marc 
Antony, left alone upon the stage, 
went up to the dead Ciesar as he 
lay swathed in his purple robe?, 
and, standing at his head, poured 



out his hitherto suppressed anguish 
and purpose of revenge in the 
speech, admirably spoken by Herr 
Barnay, beginning — 

** Oh, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of 
earth," ic 

In all this the stage director had 
given true assistance to both actor 
and poet, and we were again re- 
minded of the excellence of the 
Meiningen system in the genuine 
pathos which the young lady who 
played Antony's servant threw into 
the exclamation, " Oh, Caesar ! " as 
she caught a sight of his body, and 
fell on her knees beside it It is 
by little touches of this kind, quite 
as much as by elaborate accessories, 
that the Meiningen company jus- 
tify their claims as reformers of the 
stage. These touch the heart, and 
foster the proper mood for appre- 
ciating the purpose of the poet ; 
whereas there is always danger that 
this mood may be disturbed, if the 
appeals to the eye be too frequent 
or too vivid. 

Something of this danger was 
incurred in the immediately fol- 
lowing scene in the Forum. Every 
resource of the establishment was 
called into play in order to give a 
sense of reality to this scene — a 
scene in which Shakespeare's genius 
grappled, and successfully grappled, 
with what was certainly one of the 
most striking events in Eoman 
story.- In the various costumes of 
the vast crowd which filled the 
stage, the student of antiquity was 
delighted to see the results of the 
most scholarly research ; while the 
artist's eye was gladdened by con- 
trasts of colour and variety of group- 
ing, in which there were suggestions 
for many pictures. The general 
disposition of the scene was ex- 
cellent, and quite sufficient for all 
dramatic purpose?. But it was in 
the way that the crowd became a 



1881.] 



The Meim'ngen Company and the Loftdon Stage. 



259 



living, seething mass of illinstruct- 
ed, excitable^ passionate human 
creatuies, — " a fierce democratic 
Bway'd at will" by the rhetoric 
first of Brutus and then of Antony, 
— that the presiding spirit of the 
company made his power felt. Not 
a hint given by Shakespeare in the 
interjected speeches of the first, 
second, third, and fourth citizens, 
but was turned to profit. The re- 
presentatives seized and directed 
the variable moods of the mob with 
admirable skiU, moving in and out 
among them, and driving home 
their speeches with the tones 
and action of accomplished actors. 
The crowd itself, moreover, listened 
to the two great orators as if, in- 
deed, a portentous issue hung upon 
their words, and step by step it 
was wrought up to the frenzy of 
]»assion, which in Shakespeare finds 
vent in the words — 

** Sec. CtY.— Go fetch fire! 

Third Cit. — Pluck down benches ! 

Fourth at. — Pluck down the forms, 
windows, anything ! " 

and which in reality made the 
Koman populace lay hold of every 
inflammable thing within their 
reach, musical instruments included, 
to make a funeral pyre for Caesar's 
body in the Forum, not three hun- 
dred yards from the spot where 
Marc Antony spoke his craftily 
devised harangue. 

But the very vividness with 
which all this was acted could not 
fail to do some violence to Shake- 
speare, who naturally throws more 
stress upon Brutus and Antony as 
the moving spirits of the scene than 
upon those whom they address, 
whereas upon the stage they were 
somewhat overshadowed by the 
prominence of the mob. An actor 
of less power and accomplishment 
than Herr Bamay would have run 
great r\&k of being utterly eclipsed. 



Only his imposing voice and pre- 
sence enabled him to tower over all 
the weltering turbulence of the 
scene, and, despite the somewhat 
too frequent interruptions of assent 
from the crowd, to keep the atten- 
tion of the audience fixed upon 
himself as the cential figure. It 
was in this scene, as in the previous 
scene in the Senate House, that 
Herr Barnay — who, we hear, is not a 
permanent member of the Meinin- 
gen troupe — proved himself to be of 
a far higher order than those with 
whom he was associated. His elocu- 
tion, unforced and incisive, aided 
by a flexible penetrating voice, and 
by the graces of free and appropri- 
ate action, told with immense 
effect. When he descended from 
the Eostru^I to a place beside the 
bier, his tall and commanding flgure 
prevented him from being dwarfed, 
as otherwise he must have been, by 
the crowd which was allowed to 
press too closely and eagerly upon 
him. !Not soon will be forgotten 
by those who saw it, the admirable 
way in which he illuminated with 
voice and action the speech be- 
ginning, "If you have tears, pre- 
pare to shed them now ! " — work- 
ing up his audience to the highest 
pitch of sympathy, till he had pre- 
pared them for the climax of his 
rhetoric, as he threw back the 
mantle from Csesar's face, with the 
words — 

** Kind souls, what, weep you when you 

but behold 
Our Csesar's vesture wounded? Lcok 

you here, — 
Here is himself, marr'd, as you see, with 

traitors. " 

By this time he had moved the 
audience in front, as well as those 
upon the stage. He sent the same 
thrill through them by showing to 
their eyes that " poor and bleeding 
piece of earth," to which the civil- 



260 



The Meinlngen Company and the London Stage, 



[Aug. 



ised world had but the day before 
been bowed in homage. 

The Casaius of Herr Teller was a 
performance of great merit. He 
had "the lean and hungry look" 
of the ascetic republican, who 
"thought too much," and filled 
Caesar with distrust. An actor 
of large experience, trained in the 
light of good traditions, he threw 
himself into the part with the sin- 
cerity of a true artist. His Cassius 
was therefore a figure to remember; 
a ad this all the more that in sub- 
sequent performances, the same 
actor proved himself as much at 
home in comedy, as in the higher 
poetical drama. The Brutus was 
not so satisfactory, — lacking the 
dignity of an ardent nature, dis- 
ciplined to self-command, which 
Shakespeare has so wonderfully 
drawn. In the beautiful scene 
with Portia, the absence of this 
characteristic became most promin- 
ent; and its absence had an evil 
effect upon the Portia who, beside a 
Brutus of the highest stamp, would 
not, as she did, address her re- 
monstrances to him with a noisy 
vehemence, strangely discordant 
ivith the mingled dignity and ten- 
derness which breathes through 
every word that Shakespeare has 
placed in her mouth. And yet 
the actress, Fraiilein Haverland, 
showed herself a mistress of her 
art in the only other scene where 
Portia appears (Act 11. sc. 5), where 
she is hurried into the street by her 
anxiety to learn the news of the 
attempt she knows is about to bo 
made on Csesar's life. Into this 
scene she threw an intensity which 
carried the audience by storm, and 
to which they delighted to give a 
hearty recognition. 

In " The Winter's Tale," which 
almost rivalled " Julius Caesar " in 
popularity, a severer test was ap- 
plied to the powers of the Mein- 



ingen system to do justice to the 
finer poetical elements of the 
Shakespearian drama. The play 
affords scope in Leontes and in 
Hermione for the subtlest histri- 
onic power ; while the episode of 
Florizel and Perdita, sweetest of 
idyls, demands the most delicate 
handling, not only in their repre- 
sentatives, but also in the portrayal 
of the ideal pastoral life in which 
their story is set. The Drury Lane 
audience were better able to form a 
comparative judgment in this case, 
for the play has been seen, and at no 
very distant date, on both the Lon- 
don and provincial stages. In ex- 
quisite beauty of costumes and of 
grouping, the Meiningen perfor- 
mance left nothing to be desired. 
At every turn it seemed as if some 
of the great pictures of the Venetian 
school had come to life. The scen- 
ery, too, with one exception, was 
all that could be wished ; and every- 
where was apparent the same fine 
sense of colour, of picturesque ar- 
rangement, of the value of little in- 
cidents of detail, as in the " Julius 
Caesar," carried in some respects to 
even a higher pitch of excellence. 
As a mere piece of scenic splendour 
and stage effect, it would be difficult 
to imagine anything superior to the 
scene of Hermione's trial, and the 
effect upon the awestruck crowd of 
the thunderbolt that sweeps from 
heaven, in answer to Leontes' sac- 
rilegious words — 

" There is no truth at all i' the oracle"— 

that has just proclaimed Hermione's 
innocence. But how dearly was 
the triumph of such a scene pur- 
chased by the violation of truth to 
Shakespeare, and to all probability ! 
Shakespeare places the scene in " a 
court of justice." Here it was in 
a public street. No doubt Her- 
mione complains of having been 
hurried 



1881.] 



T/ie Meiningen Company and the London Stage, 



261 



"Here to this place, i' the open air, 

before 
I have got strength of limb " — 

but this merely means that she, in 
her yet delicate state, has been hur- 
ried " through the open air " to the 
place of trial. The temptation to 
strain the words of the poet had, 
however, been obviously too great, 
for it gave the stage- director the 
opportunity of bringing in his well- 
drilled crowds to express, by looks 
and exclamation, their sympathy 
with the unhappy queen, and to 
keep up a running commentary of 
byplay upon the words of the lead- 
ing actors. But the mischief did not 
stop here. From the desire to com- 
pose his groups well, he subjected 
Hermione to an act of unmanly 
rigour, of which not even Leontes 
would have been guilty ; for in place 
of being conducted to a seat, as be- 
fitted a woman fresh from child- 
bed, and that woman an Emperor^s 
daughter, and herself a queen, she 
was made to stand on a raised 
platform, almost jostled by a mob 
of bystanders, throughout a scene 
of more than ordinary length. 
Placed in such circumstances, it 
was perhaps not strange that the 
speeches of Hermione were given 
by Fraiilein Haverland with an 
almost masculine energy* of tone 
and gesture, little suited to ex- 
press that touching combination of 
wounded dignity and tenderness 
with martyr -like sweetness and 
heart-searching pathos which Shake- 
speare has infused into every line 
of this scene. 

In this mode of treating a scene 
of exceptional poetic value, we 
must decline to adopt the teaching 
of the Meiningen school, for it is, 
in the worst sense, a '^ shouldering 
aside of the dramatic interest " for 
the sake of what is of no moment 
whatever to the right understand- 
ing of the play — nay, more, for 



what, by its intrusive prominence, 
actually impedes the performers 
from giving due effect to the con- 
ception of the poet. 

The same absence of sympathy 
with Shakespeare's purpose was not 
less conspicuous in the last scene 
of the play, where, after sixteen 
years spent by Leontes in mourning 
for the wrong he has done to the 
wife whom he believes to be dead, 
she is restored to him by Paulina. 
The situation is one of the finest in 
Shakespeare j he has been at pecu- 
liar pains to invest it with every 
circumstance of solemnity. Her- 
mione, sanctified by long years of 
seclusion and grief, through which 
she has been sustained only by the 
promise of the oracle that her lost 
daughter shall be restored to her, 
is to be given back to the husband, 
all whose remorse could not, until 
that child was found, win her again 
to his arms, so wide was the gulf 
which had been placed between 
them by the outrage done to her as 
wife, as mother, and as queen. 
Like a strain of sad sweet music, 
the scene brings all the pain 
and misunderstanding of the ear- 
lier acts to a harmonious close. So 
anxious has Shakespeare been to 
indicate the way he wished it to be 
treated, that he places it in " a 
chapel in Paulina's house." How 
great, then, was the surprise of those 
who knew this, when the curtain 
rose upon one of those impossible 
fairy groves of rainbow lines which 
precede the transformation scene of 
a pantomime; and this, although 
the text in as many words indicates 
that the curtained recess to which 
Paulina leads Leontes stands at the 
end of a picture-gallery along which 
she has just brought him ! If the 
stage-director had not felt the situ- 
ation, as little did the actors seem 
to do so. Hermione, not robed to 
resemble a statue, but wearing 



262 



The Meiniugen Company and the London Stage, 



[Au^ 



the royal apparel in which she had 
appeared in the first act, inspired 
no reverence, for she wore no trace 
on her looks of the " woman, bright 
with something of an angel light," 
with which long years of holy 
meditation had sufifused them. 
Here, too, Herr Barnay as Leontes 
proved quite unequal to the situa- 
tion. Where were the amazement, 
the awe, the pang of remembrance, 
the welling-up of the old passion- 
ate love at the sight of his much- 
wronged queen, which finds vent 
in the words — 

** Oh, thus she stood, 
Even with such life of majesty, warm life, 
As now it coldly stands, when first I 
woo'd her ? " 

"Where, too, was all the trembling 
ecstasy of mingled hope and fear, 
as, while he gazed, the figure before 
him seemed to stir with life ] Ee- 
membering what this scene was, as 
last it was seen in London, with 
Macready as Leontes, and what its 
efl*ect upon the audience was, we 
felt that our German visitors have 
yet much to learn before they can 
interpret worthily what is best and 
highest in the Shakespearian drama. 
What waste of power, too, — what 
disregard of tlie sense of proportion 
— to expend so much labour and 
wealth of illustration on all the pre- 
ceding portions of the play, and 
then to let it come to a close so flat 
and unimpressive ! 

Space fails us, otherwise we 
might further illustrate this blind- 
ness to the finer poetic aspects of the 
play by the manner in which the 
episode of Florizel and Perdita was 
treated. Hard indeed, we own, 
must it always be to find a young 
actor and actress equal to parts of 
such ideal beauty; and if their 
Meiningen representatives "were 
little like what the imagination 
pictures, one is too much accus- 



tomed to such disappointments to 
complain. But the scenes where 
they are the central figures were 
overlaid by the introduction of a 
great deal too many figures, by too 
many garish dresses, and dames of 
the ballet type, which merely de- 
layed the action, and distracted 
attention from what was of more im- 
portance. All praise, however, was 
due here, as in "Julius Coesar," to 
the care taken with the minor parts 
throughout the play. This exemp- 
lary quality, indeed, distinguished 
all the performances ; and set be- 
fore those who take upon them- 
selves the respoDsibility of conduct- 
ing a theatre an example which, if 
followed, may do much to raise the 
character of the English stage. 

We must not close our remarks on 
theplay without a word of warm com- 
mendation for the Paulina of Friiu- 
lein von ^loser-Spemer, into which 
the actress threw all that intensity 
of fteling which the part requires, 
and with the skill of emphasis and 
action which only an accomplished 
artist can command. Eesults of 
an average excellence so marked as 
in the case of the Meiningen Com- 
pany, speak volumes for the in- 
dustry and modestly artistic spirit 
with which they must have worked 
through many years to produce so 
prevailing a completeness of en- 
semhle. For it is only by years of 
work pursued in this spirit that 
such results are to be obtained. 
There is no royal road to excellence 
on the stage, any more than in any 
other art. Yet when we see how 
far short of what could be wished 
is what even these patient, intellig- 
ent, and practised artists can achieve, 
we may well wonder at the courage 
of those young gentlemen from 
Oxford who seem to have deemed 
it to be their vocation to show 
London, at the Imperial Theatre, a 
few weeks ago, how "Komeo and 



1881.] The Mtintpgen Com2^ar>y and the London Stage. 



263 



Juliet " ought to be acted. In the 
" Agamemnon " of iEscLylus, "with 
-which they entertained their 
friends last year, they were safe 
irom criticism. Nine-tenths of their 
audience did not understand a word 
of spoken Greek, and the other tenth 
were very tolerant of an attempt 
-which had at least the merit of 
being novel, if not amusing. A 
little common-sense — which, how- 
ever, does not always accompany a 
knowledge of Greek — might have 
taught these young gentlemen to 
distrust the praises of such lenient 
Clitics, and to return, with laurels 
all untarnished, to " strictly medi- 
tate the thankless Muse," or to pro- 
secute those other pursuits which 
their Alma Mater is supposed to 
foster. Instead of this, they have 
rushed before the town in the play 
which perhaps of all others in 
Shakespeare imposes the very high- 
est demands upon those who would 
embody it on the stage. The fool- 



ish praise of personal friends has no 
doubt not been wanting to gratify 
the vanity which prompted an at- 
tempt, the audacity of which amounts 
to mere impertinence. But it would 
be idle to waste criticism upon the 
outcome of what had no doubt ab- 
sorbed an infinite quantity of time, 
unwisely taken from more fitting 
pursuits. Of all arts, as Voltaire 
long ago said, the art of acting is 
the most difficult. "When will 
amateurs learn to realise this truth % 
If act they must, let them do so by 
all means ; but let them first qualify 
themselves by all the hard study, 
and still harder practice, which the 
art demands. If the young Oxford 
amateurs wish to find out whether 
nature meant them for the stage, 
let them take to it as a profession. 
Judged by what was seen of them 
at the Imperial Theatre, they will 
scarcely provoke very eager compe- 
tition at present amongst managers 
for their serv^ices. 



264 



Besieged in the Transvaal : 



[Aug. 



BESIEGED IN THE TRANSVAAL. 



THE DEFENCE OF STANDERTON. — Concluded. 



A WORD about our position will 
explain much of that which fol- 
lows. 

The Vaal river is a considerable 
stream, running, roughly speaking, 
east and west. On approaching 
Standerton from Newcastle the tra- 
veller sees in front of him the Vaal, 
and beyond it the town stretching 
out towards the north for half a 
mile. Immediately before him is 
the deep cutting which leads to 
the "drift;" on the left, a mile 
away, on rising ground, is the camp 
and fort. The town itself lies in a 
basin, about a mile square, the rim 
of which, to begin on the right of 
the " drift," runs away north, when 
it turns toward a high, flat- topped 
hill on the left — Slander's Kop. 
Between this hill and the camp the 
ground appears tolerably level. 

This rim is dotted with koppies, 
tiny hills of boulders here and there. 
The first, on the right of the town, 
is called Graveyard Koppie, because 
of the graveyard below it ; a mile 
further on is another. Hotel Kop- 
pie ; a little beyond is North Kop- 
pie; thence the ridge, cut by the 
line of the Heidelberg road, trends 
west to a koppie, a spur of Stan- 
dards Kop, called by us Froom's 
Koppie; then a mile of flat and 
the fort. Outside this line of kop- 
pies the open veldt stretches to the 
horizon. 

A curious incident of the siege 
occurred on the 7th January. At 
daybreak we saw that an earthwork 
had been put up in the night on the 
high ground across the river, 900 
yards distant from, and threatening 
the town, as well as all the ground 
between it and the fort. Already 
two sides were exposed to fire, and 



now this work closed up the third, 
besides commanding our line of 
road with the town, where our 
water lay ; and the perplexity thus 
caused us may be imagined. The 
earthwork was large enough to hold 
fifty men, lay on the top of a ridge 
against which our advance would 
be up a bare slope, perfectly adapted 
to defensive fire, and was command- 
ed by the stony koppie to the left, 
which the Boers held. We had 
been warned against traps, and this 
looked a veritable one. So we 
set to work to put up traverses 
against it, changing round the 
openings in our defended houses, 
intending to wait and see what 
was to come. 

That afternoon two natives vol- 
unteered to cross the river and 
burn a house near the "drift" which, 
if occupied by the Boers, would 
have caused no great mischief; and 
this done, finding no notice taken 
of them by the new work, which 
was just above, the pair ran on to 
it, crouching much, and with their 
guns ready, reached it, only to find 
it empty. We watched them pull- 
ing it down, throwing the sods 
right and left; in ten minutes it 
was level, and they turned back, 
the Dutch on the koppie walking 
up just too late, and firing at them 
as they came down, which they did 
in safety, bringing with them two 
spades left to finish the work that 
night, — and got a^good subscription 
from the townspeople for their 
daring. 

I expected that they would try to 
build it up again during the night, 
and fixed two rifles on a rest, lay- 
ing them on the spot, having first 
got the range with half- a- dozen 



18S1.] 



The Defence of Standerfon, — Concluded, 



2C5 



shots, and fired them at intervals 
through the night, with the desired 
effect, for next morninfj no fresh 
trace was to he seen. Thus one of 
the most formidahle features of the 
siege ended. We heard afterwards 
that the work was constructed for a 
couple of guns provided hy the Free 
State, which, however, never came. 

Very frequently we saw the 
rehels with a waggon cutting 
down the telegraph-poles, a long 
way off; hut as soon as we went 
after them, they left, and got away 
hefore we could get up. These poles 
stood up to within 1200 yards 
north of the town, counting from 
our most advanced post ; across the 
river they disappeared much nearer, 
as we could not get ahout there so 
easily. The mention of traverses 
reminds me of another incident. 
Outside the fort I left the tents 
standing through the siege to show 
the Boers that we cared so little for 
their fire. The men were not in 
them, hut this the Boers were not 
expected to know, although at first 
I had great trouble to keep the men 
from using them ; and it was not 
till two had been severely wounded 
when sitting under canvas that the 
order was obeyed. 

With the officers it was different, 
their tents were a little further off, 
partly protected by the fort; and 
they were used to dress in of a morn- 
ing. But even for that short time 
in them we were not safe ; the ene- 
my knew when we went into them, 
and fired at them all the time, 80 
that in a short while there was 
not one but what showed several 
bullet-holes. I had a narrow escape 
myself; a bullet cutting through the 
tent at my back, striking the carpet 
on which my feet rested, and flying 
up to lodge underneath the table 
on which my glass stood — I was 
shaving at the time. 

To lessen this danger, most of 
us made traverses of boxes inside. 



One more ingenious than the rest 
fixed his in the shape of the letter 
V, each side parallel to the hill that 
commanded it, and from the secure 
position of the apex enjoyed his 
tub and laughed at bullets. These 
traverses got well riddled to show 
how many lives they saved, the 
bullets playing strange freaks with 
the owner's clothes inside. They 
would go through half-a-dozen ar- 
ticles, making as many holes in 
each as there were folds. One I 
remember went through an Ulster 
coat, some towels, a dress-suit, some 
underclothing, and a blanket — lodjr- 
ing in the last, which was too much 
for it. 

There was an opening in the 
wall dividing the fort just large 
enough to creep through by stoop- 
ing, and one day the fellows oppo- 
site must have discovered it, for all 
at once four bullets came through 
it in as many minutes. Inside was 
our sleeping-shed and dining-room, 
a place about ten feet square, 
usually full; fortunately no one 
was hit, but we at once put up a 
traverse and saved ourselves from 
fresh visitors. All the shots were 
fired at the forts ; the town was 
saved from them by these, which 
kept the Boers at a respectful dis- 
tance. This was what I wanted, 
as there were women there and 
little children ; and, putting sen- 
timent aside, a wounded woman 
would have tried us sadly. 

One bullet is recorded to have 
hit the town, and became historical 
from its eccentric course. It came 
one night. The parson, who was 
strolling round, heard it but did 
not tumble do"\vn, for two reasons : 
it did not hit him ; and if he had 
fallen, men, thinking him wounded, 
might have rushed out to pick 
him up, thus exposing more to fresh 
bullets. It then went into a man*s 
trousers-pocket, ran round outside 
him out at the other ; hit a volun- 



266 



Bedeged in the Transvaal : 



[Aug. 



tcer on the boot, not vitally; struck 
the roof of the Court-house, nearly 
killing a sergeant on the door-step, 
and then went on another four 
hundred yards, where it hopped 
about on the roof of the hotel, and 
finally disappeared. But that was 
an exception to most of our bul- 
lets, which were not all so comical. 

On the 8 th January the fire from 
Stander's Kop got troublesome, and 
a man having been shot from there, 
we threw up in the night our first 
rifle-pit against that position, — a 
pit which grew bit by bit until it 
became our most formidable out- 
work, garrisoned night and day with 
fifteen men, well provided with food 
and ammunition. It could only 
possibly be relieved during the dark, 
on account of the fire it was always 
exposed to. Soon after its construc- 
tion a second pit was made, fiank- 
ing it on the left, and held as was 
the first; and to these two works 
out on the open vehU was, I think, 
to be attributed our ability to hold 
the place as we did. This fact was 
well recognised by the men in them, 
and very proud of them they were. 
They made a Union-jack, and hoist- 
ed it under a volley of cheers and 
bullets. On these dropping near, 
they would run out and pretend to 
pick them up, shouting "Play up!" 
Indeed I had to check their fond- 
ness for the pame — it was too 
dangerous. Often the right work 
was knee- deep in water, drainage 
being hopeless; yet the men lived 
on and never grumbled. Towards 
the end of the siege a bit of the 
parapet fell in owing to the inces- 
sant rain, and from it (it was no 
bigger than a tea-tray) they picked 
out 300 bullets. So much for the 
fire it had stood. 

During the armistice the Boers 
wanted to come down the hill op- 
posite to a garden, the same we 
had occupied on our first sortie ; 
but at the first sign of a man try- 



ing to descend he g6t a warning 
bullet, and ran back faster than 
he came. Thinking it a pity the 
stuff they came down for should 
be wasted (it grew in neutral ground 
of no use to either side), I told the 
men to let the Boers know they 
might come down and pick it. On 
this a man of voice, elected by his 
comrades, put his handkerchief on 
his ramrod, walked out half-way, 
and shouted in a voice strongly 
provincial, which no Boer could 
possibly have understood, " Come 
down, Johnnie, and pick yer scofi"; 
we won't shoot ye !" which de- 
livered, ho returned quite pleased 
with the success of his mission. 
The result was that the Dutch, 
thinking it at least an offer of sur- 
render, sent off for their general, 
who came in post-haste, under a 
bigger flag than ours, to receive 
the conditions ; and very much dis- 
gusted he was to find how little 
there was in the invitation. 

A few days later we set up a 
heliograph, made out of some look- 
ing-glasses purchased in the town, 
and directed the flash on Paade Kop, 
a hill thirty miles on the road to 
Newcastle, hoping that it would 
catch the eyeot the expected column 
under Sir George Colley; the men 
being instructed to flash out as 
soon as it was returned, ** Stander- 
ton all well — shall I come out to 
meet youl" Very hopeful were 
we in these early days, little dream- 
ing that it would be just two 
months before we heard a word in 
reply, and then only a vague sug- 
gestion of disasters from the ofiicer 
who relieved us with supplies, after 
the first armistice. The Dutch, 
cunning people, used to light fires 
in a circle when they saw the flash, 
and often obscured it ; but we beat 
them in the end, and their firt-s 
went out, while our flash never 
ceased. 

The days now began to pass so 



1881.1 



The Defence of Sianderton. — Concluded. 



267 



like one another that the entries 
in my diary could be summed up in 
such remarks as — " Eighteen wag- 
gons passing to east. Movement on 
Free State road. Party of fifty men 
advanced on koppie, but retired on 
finding us prepared. Brisk firing 
all day, two men wounded," 

On January 17th, I find the 
firat mention of reduced rations — 
biscuit twice a-week, and one pound 
of wood per man ; not anything 
serious, but warning us of what 
miprht come. 

On the same day a group of horse- 
men rode up to the top of Stand er's 
Kop, — one in front evidently a 
person of authority, — and for some 
hours appeared engaged in devis- 
ing an attack. This, as it happened, 
came to nothing; but we heard after- 
wards that the man in front was 
Joubert, and that the attack then de- 
vised included the placing of a gun 
in position somewhere on the hill. 
The attack was to be made by nearly 
3000 men, a force being sent from 
Heidelberg to strengthen the one 
already investing us; but matters 
jost then looked so threatening that 
the men were ordered to go on to 
the "Nek" instead, and we were 
let off. We were quite ready for 
them, and perhaps the Dutch would 
have got as warm a reception as 
they cared for. 

I find my diary says, jotted 
down at the minute : — 

" Made arrangements for a counler- 
attack against theirs ; thirty men from 
town to hold koppie S.-W. 58th rein- 
forced to forty-nve men, holding rifle- 
pit in force, with groups of sentries in 
smaller pits, — rest in support. Myself 
with fifty men ready to move against 
the Kop for a front attack, both Hanks 
being well assured. Moun ted in fan try 
saddled up in readiness to go out. 
Mounted spy at midnight rode to the 
Kop to ascertain if any work was in 
course of construction at the place 
chosen by the rebels, in which case I 
shall attack and destroy it." 



However, as we know, the attack 
came to nothing, and the spy re- 
ported all as it should be, no work 
being visible; so we lay down 
again to sleep in our boots, which 
was comfortable enough after a hard 
day's work, though it sounds a little 
the reverse to those used to feather- 
beds and sheets. This sleeping in 
our clothes and boots became quite 
second nature : some of us had 
been at it since we landed for the 
Zulu war. Hardly one had slept 
between sheets in South Africa; 
and it was amusing to watch the 
various ways we had of turning in 
on our stretchers. One would ar- 
range his blankets like a bag, and 
gradually wriggle into it, till only 
his nose appeared outside; another, 
Spartan- like in his disregard of 
comfort, lay with his jack-boots, 
inside which were his feet, sticking 
out at one end, while his head, in 
a red night - cap, appeared at the 
other. When it rained, our roof 
was none too clever at keeping it 
out; the drops had an irritating 
way of getting through every hole 
and cranny, dividing into spray, 
and sprinkling us as if from the 
rose of a watering-pot. On these 
occasions waterproof sheets were in 
requisition, and when pulled over 
the sleepers below, gave them a 
striking resemblance to as many 
corpses laid out for burial. 

We held the kopjyie just above 
the town with a mixed force of our 
own men and volunteers. It waw 
quite the key of the position, and 
could be reinforced very shortly in 
caso of an attack. To lose it was 
to lose the town. 

One afternoon a good deal of 
firing was heard about this critical 
little hill : stray shots first, then 
volleys from the Jcoppie, answered 
by more distant ones from the 
Dutch, till the firing became gen- 
eral. I could see our men in the 
shelters holding it, and blazing 



2G8 



Btsieged in the Transvaal : 



[Aug. 



away, so we put out a picket in 
readiness to help them ; hut by the 
sound of the answering reports it 
was plain the attack was not very 
pronounced. Judge of my disgust 
when I saw them running hack by 
twos and threes, making for the 
town ! The Boers must have made 
a feint with a small body to con- 
ceal the real attack by the main 
force, which mast be showing all of 
a sudden from another point. It 
looked like it, and every moment 
I expected to see the hill crowned 
with Boers; and the town, alive 
with silly people, women and chil- 
tlren, whites and blacks, seemed to 
think so too, and gaped in anticipa- 
tion of so novel a raree-show — all 
at the mercy of the bullets. But 
the officer in charge of the town 
saw his men retreating, and at 
once got out a reinforcement, tak- 
ing it up the hill at the "double," 
and reaching it before the Dutch, 
who, suspecting a trap as usual, were 
by no means too anxious to be there 
till quite certain we had left it. They 
occupied the koppie 1000 yards in 
front, and made fair shooting from 
the cover of the stones ; but after a 
little steady practice on our side, 
they thought better of it and stole 
away. We counted 150 of them 
in one koppie^ and no doubt had 
they found our hill not held they 
would have rushed in and given us 
some trouble, as it must have been 
retaken, — and retaking koppies is 
nasty work. 

The mixture of soldiers and 
volunteers did not work well, as this 
affair showed ; and from that time 
each did their duty separately, the 
men holding their positions and 
the volunteers others ; and both 
behaved excellently. With whom 
the scare started was not easy to 
determine. Certainly a volunteer 
had made himself conspicuous in 
his haste to reach the town, and 
was made an example of. At a 



parade next day he was dismissed 
the corps, his arms taken from 
him, and a speech delivered not 
altogether flattering to his courage 
as an Englishman. On the same 
occasion two others of the corps 
received my thanks for their be- 
haviour during the scare — thanks 
they never ceased to deserve till 
the end of the siege. About the 
soldiers who misbehaved at the 
same time, and their fate, I need 
not speak. 

The tendency of the civilians, 
the women especially, to run out 
of their houses and look on when 
any firing was heard, just as if 
securing the best seats in a theatre, 
was a more serious matter, and 
called for stringent measures. It 
would be terrible to have a woman 
hit before the men ; and every inch 
of hospital space was wanted. So the 
Lauddrost was put in charge of the 
women and natives, with instruc- 
tions to see them all under cover 
at the first sign of an attack ; and 
the arrangement worked admirably, 
though not without remonstrance 
from the fair creatures who were 
thus deprived of their woman's 
right — the exercise of curiosity. 

The Boers used to jump up on 
rocks behind which they fired, and 
shout, and wave, making insulting 
gestures to the men, which put us 
about a bit, as we had to prevent 
our people from answering back: 
they thought they were bound to do 
so as soldiers. We did not know it 
then, but the tidings of each defeat 
of the column was passed on to us 
with these signs of delight and 
intimidation. One man was par- 
ticularly good at this game, his 
speech being so full of barrack- 
slang that we had little doubt but 
that he was a deserter from our 
side. Many such were known to 
be fighting against us. That de- 
serters are not all of such a class, 
the following incident will show : — 



1881.] 



The Defence of Standerton, — Concludtd. 



2G9 



A man deserted from the troops 
at StandertOQ some time before, and 
got dear away, setting up in business 
in a town in the Free State, where 
he was doing yery well, till, hear- 
ing that war was imminent between 
his countrymen and the Boers, he 
left his business, came back to 
Standerton, and gave himself up. 
He was put in prison until the case 
was reported, when I released him, 
pending an application to the Gen- 
eral for a free pardon. This I had 
the pleasure of handing to him soon 
after the siege, the poor fellow's 
lips trembling so with pleasure and 
anxiety that he had not the power 
to thank me. 

" There's something up, they are 
so quiet ;" or " There's a great deal 
of movement round us, something 
must be brewing," were common 
sentences with all of us; but on 
January 28th I find entered, 
" Stander's Kop occupied by par- 
ties all along watching us ; evident- 
ly some plan is being hatched by 
the rebels. '^ And then extra pre- 
cautions as usual. 

Next morniDg came confirmation 
that we were not far wrong. Curi- 
ously enough, on that day I had 
reconnoitred one of their laagers 
which was up the river. We could 
count eight waggons in it ; the 
<:^round about was favourable, and 
I resolved to attack it in the early 
morning. But the activity just 
mentioned induced me to put it off 
for a day. And it was a piece of 
luck that I did, for that morning 
my scouts brought in word that this 
laager was on the move — forty-nine 
waggons, with 200 men, — so well 
do the laagers conceal their podi- 
tions, and the force holding them. 
I should have gone with eighty men 
to attack a position I expected was 
held by sixty at the outside, and 
should have met my match, per- 
haps a bit more. So, on the prin- 
ciple enunciated by a character in 



Dickens, I scored a victory through 
having saved myself from suffering 
a defeat. 

The morning of this doubtful 
victory I was lying asleep on my 
stretcher (we all turned out about 
three o'clock until fall daylight, 
when those who had been potter- 
ing about through the night took a 
nap : I was indulging in this), when 
I was awoke by a somewhat truc- 
ulent specimen of my mounted vol- 
unteers, evidently with a load of 
importance on his mind to deliver. 

He was a grizzly man, strung 
round with cartridges, clutching 
his carbine, and much out of breath. 
The tip of his snub nose was red ; 
and he had the reputation of 
a murder, more or less, on his 
shoulders. A short time previous 
he had brought me a horse to sell ; 
I was mounting the troop. It was 
an old favourite, had carried him 
in the Sekukuni war, and was cheap 
at twenty-five pounds. In the end 
I offered him twenty, when he 
shook his head and went away in 
disgust, to return with the horse, 
and accept my offer, provided that 
he might keep him as his own 
mount. To this I again objected, 
when I got the animal at my own 
terms. I learnt subsequently the 
horse had been intrusted to him by 
one of the townspeople to sell 
for twenty pounds, anything above 
that sum which he could get being 
his own. Hence the Sekukuni 
story and its additions. 

This was the man who now came 
in upon me and began his tale. 

He had been out on vedette at 
daybreak, and had seen a native in 
the distance coming towards him, 
" when," he added with a heroic air, 
'' I made for him at once, sir, and 
captured him, and brought him in. 
He says he wants to see you, and 
no one else." 

A black youth with a pleasant 
face, shivering with cold and wet, 



270 



Besieged in the Transvaal : 



[Aur. 



here peeped in with the usual 
kosSy accompanied by the arm 
raised, and began to laugh as all 
natives, Zulus more than others, do 
when they wish to be serious. 

"Well, Johnnie; what do you 
want?" 

"M!e want general, saro; you 
general, sare 1 " 

" He says he wanta to see the 
Commandant, sir," slid in the grizz- 
ly one, 

"Yes, that's me; now what is 
itr' 

" Ho won't tell you, sir ; he says 
he wants to see you alone." 

" Well, we are alone, go on." 

" No, sare, oder gentlemans here," 
said the Zulu, pointing to my 
friends the doctor and one of the 
captains, who were sitting upon 
their stretchers on either side of 
mp. 

" They are nothin:^ — they are 
only friends; go on." 

**No, sare; see you by self, not 
here if you please, sare." 

" He says he must see you qaite 
alone, sir," echoed the escort. So 
I had to get up and go into the 
office-tent, into which followed the 
Zulu, also the volunteer. The pair 
then with much secrecy pulled the 
curtain down, hooked up the sides, 
and closed the door. We only 
wanted the " Conspirators' Chorus " 
to make the scene perfect. 

The Zulu had a small bundle of 
clothes over his shoulder, supported 
by a stick run through the knot ; 
this he took down, and pulling out 
the stick, offered it to me. 

" Yes, all right, but where is the 
letter, if that is what you have 
brought 1" I asked. 

He replied by tapping the stick, 
still holding it out to me. 

" He means it's in the stick, sir. 
Here, Johnnie, where is it, this end 
or that 1 " continued the volunteer, 
pulling out his clasp - knife and 
cutting away at one end. 



And so it turned out The stick 
had been hollowed out, and a smill 
roll of paper inserted, the hole be- 
ing filled with a plug, when it was 
quite impossible to detect that it 
had been tampered with. The roll 
of paper contained a despatch from 
Pretoria, photographs of general 
orders, and a map of the road, all 
microscopic, and containing in a 
space smaller than a child's little 
finger a whole budget of news. 
It was addressed to Sir George 
Colley, commanding the troops at 
Standerton, where it was fully be- 
lieved that he would be by the 
time the stick arrived. It was, as 
we learned long after, the day of 
Laing's Nek, when he tried so well 
to redeem his word and to be with 
us. 

The secret of the Zulu being 
given up, he went outside, and at 
once became the centre of an ad- 
miring crowd of soldiers, to whom 
his adventures were like a page 
from the 'Arabian Nights' after 
their newsless life. He was the 
hero of the hour. One man gave 
him a pair of trousers, another a 
coat, and a third an old wide- 
awake, which was immediately 
adorned with a tuft of black ostrich- 
feathers, from under which his face 
peered out with an air of self-com- 
placency most amusing. 

The news he brought in his stick 
was nothing, however, to that which 
he told us. For three days he had 
been a prisoner with the Dutch 
laager from Potchefstroom, which 
had left that place, and was mov- 
ing on to unite with the Boers 
before Standerton to attack us. It 
counted 160 waggons, which, at 
seven men apiece, the usual aver- 
age, gave a reinforcement of 1100 
men. The sudden move of the 
laager which we had noticed, ap- 
peared to back up the statement, 
as it had gone in the direction in 
which the new one was advancing, 



1881.] 



The Defence of Standerton, — Concluded, 



271 



taking up its fresh position not 
far from the Heidelberg road. 

Here was another menace threat- 
ening my weakest side, and fresh 
measures to meet it must be taken 
without delay. The advancing 
waggons had been left at Waterfall 
Eiver, twenty miles distant, on the 
previous day, and would be here 
the same evening, giving us just 
the day for preparations. 

Breakfast over, we occupied the 
two koppies lying to the north of 
the town, about a mile distant, one 
on either side of the road, and some 
1200 yards apart, and commenced 
a work on each in readiness for 
occupation that evening; a third 
was also started on Graveyard 
Koppie, thus surrounding the town 
on two sides with a line of small 
forts, the main work covering the 
third, and the river the fourth. 
An officer and twenty men held 
each of the new forts, while I was 
ready to start with one hundred 
men to the assistance of any that 
required it. This left a bare hun- 
dred to hold the fort and town ; 
but I calculated, that if driven 
back from the outworks, the men 
would retire on the central defences, 
and form their garrisons. 

All day the mounted men were 
scouting about ; we should have at 
least twenty minutes' warning did 
the Boers come on. A second field- 
work was traced in front of the 
fort to assist the one already made, 
and was begun that night, as the 
place was under fire ; and until 
cover was obtained all work had 
to be done in the dark. It was 
a day of real hard work, the 
officers and men toiling in their 
shirt-sleeves, neglecting meals in 
their determination to be a match 
for the Dutch; and so well did 
they succeed, that by nightfall the 
koppies were each topped by a 
stout work, loopholed, and strong 
enough to resist any ordinary at- 

VOL. CXXX. — NO. DCCXC. 



tack. The garrisons were told off, 
and slept in each from that day 
till the proclamation of peace with- 
out changing, — a plan the men 
liked, and one I always found 
worked better than any other. In 
the end we heard that the expected 
waggons had turned off within ten 
miles of us, and had made for a 
" drift " across the Vaal higher up. 
But the report of its advance did 
good service, pointing out our 
weak places, and so enabling us to 
strengthen the position, until noth- 
ing but guns or accident could 
have forced it from us. 

That afternoon I read out the 
greater part of the Kafir's despatch 
to the townspeople, much after the 
style of the town crier ; but still it 
was the shortest and easiest way of 
letting every one know the truth. 
When people literally hunger for 
news it is best to tell them what 
you know, or the result will be 
rumours and reports both false and 
dispiriting. 

The Zulu promised to go on again 
after a day's rest ; so a fresh stick 
was got ready, another despatch 
added, and himself provided with 
some money and food, and allowed 
to strut about as the hero of the hour 
— a role he played to perfection. 

The question ever present was 
food, and every day forced it more 
to the front. The soldiers I could 
keep under my hand, but waste 
and extravagance were too prevalent 
among the civilians. They had un- 
limited confidence in my ability to 
produce supplies. So I suddenly 
seized all provisions in the town, 
going through every store and cart- 
ing away the things taken ; enter- 
ing people's houses, and obtaining 
either a declaration that they could 
last so long without coming to me, 
or else taking everything and put- 
ting them on the ration-list. The 
food, when collected, was placed in 
a store under care of the Landdrost, 

s 



272 



Besieged in the Transvaal : 



[Aug. 



with my former friend, who swoie 
allegiance, rather than be shot, as 
store keeper - general. A scale of 
rations was drawn up : mighty scan- 
ty it was — the highest eight ounces 
for a woman, either sago or meal, 
soon reduced to half ; for children 
a mere mouthful. 

The principal storekeeper, a man 
who drove his carriage, and so 
a magnate among the rest, elected 
to find himself. So after a lecture 
on economy, and the necessity of 
keeping to his bargain of holding 
out for the time he had given in, 
he was allowed his own way. A 
few days later I happened to call 
in, when he said : — 

" Ah, major, I've taken to heart 
what you said, and have stopped all 
waste. Even yesterday I went 
into the kitchen and found a lot of 
crusts and bits of stale bread, which 
we usually give to the Kafirs, and I 
had them all put into a pudding for 
dinner to-day." So much for the 
straits which we starving people 
endured. 

However, to make things fair for 
every one, the same day we reduced 
our own rations again, getting a 
mouthful of bread twice a -week, 
biscuit the remainder. As an in- 
stance of what children soldiers are, 
a little after this reduction, it being 
bread day, a deputation went to the 
" orderly officer," with a complaint 
that the bread was heavy, and they 
would like it changed for biscuit, 
— and this when every pound of 
bread-stuff meant ability to hold out. 

Our Zulu meantime found he 
had fallen on such pleasant times 
that he thought he should like to 
stay permanently with us, and it 
wanted some pressure to induce 
him to go on. I think he saw that 
his popularity was on the wane, 
and so at last consented. A second 
native volunteered to go with him. 
He got a big -coat, money, scoff — 
that is, food for the journey — his 



precious stick, — and, after much 
delay, at last started. To conclude 
his history at once: Three days 
later he returned, c^est-fallen, wet, 
and draggled — he had lain out in 
the open six miles away, within a 
few yards of the Dutch ; the coun- 
try was infested by them \ patrols 
and sentries were everywhere ; it 
was impossible to get through. He 
expected to return, as before, a 
hero. But we were all disgusted 
at being sold, and he was un- 
noticed — the men no longer asked 
him for his adventures; two Hot- 
tentot women at the waggons were 
said to have spat at him in scorn. 
He was broken-hearted, and came 
humbly enough after a day of it to 
ask to be allowed to try again. On 
this being granted, he made a fresh 
plan, got put across the river with 
his friend on a horse, and made off. 
It turned out that they were soon 
made prisoners by some Kafirs, and 
brought back to the Dutch laager 
just across the river, where he was 
kept for five days, being armed with 
an assegai with which he promised to 
kill the English if they attacked. 
One night, I remember, we did 
return their fire rather sharply — we 
knocked over nine of them ; another, 
every Dutchman, seized with panic, 
bolted out of the laager, thinking 
that we had got dynamite in by 
some mysterious dodge. At last, 
by the most artful lies, he so im- 
posed on the poor simple Dutch 
that they gave him a pass to the 
Free State, for which he set out, 
taking with him the precious stick, 
and getting through all right. In 
my despatch I asked Sir George 
CoUey if he could reward the brave 
fellow with ten cows, and he ac- 
tually received thirty pounds, the 
value of the cows. The Zulu sub- 
sequently turned up as servant to 
the correspondent of the * Standard,' 
and on arriving at Standerton made 
straight for me, once more a hero. 



1881.] 



The Defence of Standerton. — Concluded, 



273 



And this was the only message we 
got through in the whole three 
months. 

One dodge — we were full of dodges 
— ^is worth relating, as it was every- 
thing to magnify our force as much 
as possible. It was our habit to 
relieve the night garrisons of the 
two forts about 3 a.m. with the men 
who held them during the day, as 
attacks might be expected about 
that time, and to meet them the 
garrison was doubled in the manner 
stated, when the men had orders to 
show themselves as much as they 
could, so that the Boers, counting 
them up, would be under the im- 
pression that what they saw was 
always in garrison. 

A second dodge was accidental, 
and did no harm. It happened 
that the attacks we made took place 
on rainy mornings, and in conse- 
quence a rainy morning never came 
round - but we saw the patrols 
doubled, searching about with extra 
diligence, heedless of wet and cold, 
expecting us; and many a laugh 
we had at the poor fellows' anxiety. 
But the best dodge of all was our 
gun. There was a large coffee-mill 
in camp, worked with two fly-wheels, 
and one evening the men turned 
this out on its side, making pre- 
tence it was a gun, running it about, 
loading and firing with great de- 
light. The idea was a capital one, 
and we at once got a wooden gun 
made, mounted on a pair of waggon- 
wheelsy when, unless close to it, 
no one could tell the difference. 
This was run out one morning by 
a regular gun detachment, loaded, 
rammed, and the action of firing 
gone through, as if the party was 
at drill. Up ran the Dutch to their 
look-out places, glasses were pointed, 
and when the truth dawned on 
them, bang came a dozen volleys at 
the unwelcome stranger. And to 
our gun we always put down the 
reason of the respectful distance 



kept by the Boers when it was 
visible. 

The day peace was proclaimed 
Joubert rode up with his staff to 
shake hands, and tell me he was 
going round his posts to order his 
men to disperse. The gun stood 
opposite the front face of the fort, 
behind it was a small-arm ammuni- 
tion-cart. The take-in was perfect, 
and I saw the Boers looking at it 
most anxiously. After the inter- 
view they rode away, but not near 
enough to detect the sham ; and 
several kept looking over their 
shoulders, and discussing it in 
perfect seriousness. 

The four natives who were in pri- 
son on suspicion of the murder of the 
volunteer, above related, afforded 
us a little excitement. It appeared 
that they had been conspiring to 
escape to the enemy ; and one day, 
when working further from the town 
than they should have been, they 
suddenly made a bolt for Stander's 
Kop. The native guard made after 
them, and our men opened fire 
without effect. Three of them man- 
aged to escape, reaching the top, 
where we saw them met by the 
rebels and taken away. The fourth 
was not so fast, and after getting an 
assegai through his leg, was cap- 
tured and brought back. I sent 
him for examination before the 
Landdrost, and his guilt being 
proved, I determined to shoot him 
as an example. He was a tall, re- 
pulsive-looking black, with fierce 
eyes, unkempt hair, and the blood 
still trickling from the wound in 
his thigh. At 4 p.m. the guard 
led him away, quite unconscious, to 
the place selected for the execution, 
where a party had already dug a 
grave. Facing this, at a short dis- 
tance, were drawn up in line the 
whole native population, about 
three hundred, dressed in their 
best clothes, beads, and ornaments, 
as if for a holiday. Between them 



274 



Besieged in the Transvaal : 



[Aug. 



and the grave stood the firing-party 
of twelve men under a sergeant. 
On the far side of the grave rose a 
rocky koppie hiding us from the 
enemy. 

As soon as the doomed wretch 
saw the grave, the line of natives, 
and the firing-party, he recognised 
his position, and covered his head 
with his hands, the only sign of 
emotion he made. The Landdrost 
made a speech to the natives in 
Dutch, translated hy the interpreter 
in energetic language and gestures, 
interrupted by loud responses, after 
the Kafir custom ; and this done, 
the prisoner, still hiding his face, was 
led to the side of the grave, a cloth 
tied round his head, and left alone ; 
on which he squatted on the heap 
of earth thrown up, his side towards 
the party — not a sound, not a move- 
ment in his body. A clear word of 
command — the rattle of the breech- 
loaders — a line of rifles pointed — a 
sharp report — and the body rolled 
quietly over, and lay still for ever. 
Death was instantaneous. I walked 
up to ascertain if he was dead : 
three of the bullets had pierced the 
head — there was no further need to 
look. The men marched ofiF, the 
natives dispersed, leaving some of 
them to bury the corpse, and all 
was done. This execution had a 
wonderful effect on all classes. On 
several occasions when ill- doers 
were sent up before me, I saw their 
eyes fixed on me most despairingly; 
they trembled with terror when 
brought up for judgment. One 
man, the town scoundrel, when up 
for stealing, was a study, so cowed 
was his manner. On my asking 
him what he thought I should do 
to him for the crime, he faltered 
out, ** You can shoot me, sir. Oh, 
sir, have mercy, and don't do it ! " 
He was left in suspense till the 
evening, and then released — his face 
a picture ; never was transition from 
abject fear to life and joy so well 
portrayed. 



The Dutch, who had been in the 
habit on early mornings of creeping 
in the long grass to within a few 
hundred yards of the vedettes and 
firing on them, at last managed to 
hit a horse, the man coming in un- 
harmed. This game was annoying, 
and made the men unsteady. So 
I arranged a counter-plan to show 
them that I could creep as well as 
they. Their main laager was about 
two miles outside our line of forts, 
in the direction of Heidelberg, a by- 
road from the town leading past it. 
Between our position and this laa- 
ger was a slight valley, and at the 
bottom a line of pans, water-holes ; 
half a mile beyond this line was 
their laager, the ground sloping 
down to the valley on either side. 
To the right, about two miles away, 
was the position they had left on 
the morning when we built our 
forts, now occupied by a small 
work and some sixty Dutch. My 
plan was to conceal a body of 
men on the edge of this valley, 
while the mounted men made a 
feigned attack on the work to the 
right. This I hoped would draw 
the Boers across my front, as the 
nearest line they could take when 
going to the assistance of their 
friends. 

The evening before I had gone 
out with the officer commanding 
the mounted men, and had thor- 
oughly inspected the ground, using 
some discretion, as there were ve- 
dettes opposite with eyes like hawks. 
The men were to move along the 
road leading to the laager, to a cer- 
tain spot which was marked by a 
rope stretched across it, to bring 
me up in the dark, when all were 
to turn off to the right, advance for 
300 paces, and lie down in the long 
grass. 

We mustered about seventy men, 
mostly from the fort ; the rest were to 
be picked up on our way through the 
town. It was three in the morning 
when we started — pitchy dark, not 



1881.] 



The Defence of Stande^ion. — Concluded. 



275 



a star in the sky — and I lost my 
way almost at the start : the road 
was as black as the grass, — you 
could not see a yard either way. 
However, I picked it up luckily, 
and got down the hill towards the 
town. Between us lay a nasty 
spruit, passable only at certain 
places on account of deep mud; 
and we made for one of them 
by the telegraph-poles; but even 
these failed me in the darkness, 
and for a second time I found that 
I had lost my way. I knew the 
spruit was on the right, and so in- 
clined that way till I came upon 
the dim glint of the water close 
below me, at the place I thought 
I was making for. Towards it I 
went, and at once tumbled down a 
small precipice, only just escaping 
the filthy water at the bottom. It 
was not the " drift " after all ; still 
it was one, though a bad one. My 
tumble, however, stopped the men ; 
and I got up, and felt about till I 
found a place they could come down, 
when we floundered across on to the 
small knoll which lies at the far end 
of the town. Across it we went. I 
had an idea there was a big drain 
cut through it : but time was valu- 
able ; so we chanced the drain, and 
soon saw a white house in front 
which we knew. From it we could 
turn and steer a straight course for 
the Court-house, where the rest of 
the party was waiting. They had 
hardly fallen in when it began to 
rain — a cold, sharp drizzle — in our 
faces, looking as if it would con- 
tinue; and it was touch and go 
about turning back. But we were 
wet already, and the worst bit was 
done ; so after explaining to the men 
what they had to do {nd commands 
could be given), we moved off. 

Stumbling as little as possible, 
hardly breathing — the old game of 
silence over again — we stole along 
the road out into the open veldt 
— the only sound a low ** hush " — 
when some unfortunate coughed 



above his breath. It seemed a 
long way, though really little over 
a mile, and the ruts were deep and 
very crooked. I began to think 
the rope would never trip me up. 
It was raining bitterly in addition, 
but walking kept us warm. On our 
left was one of the forts, not a hun- 
dred yards distant ; yet we passed 
it unperceived, although a couple of 
sentries were on the look-out for us. 
There was barely light enough to 
see the track we were on ; but after 
a bit the colour of the soU changed, 
getting black, and then the ruts 
came in handy. We led by stoop- 
ing down continually, and liter- 
ally feeling our way. At last the 
welcome rope tripped me up, and 
I was all but on my nose. The 
men halted where they were, till an 
officer standing on the road -side 
told them off one by one, when 
they gradually formed a line of 
skirmishers and advanced. 

What had been cold and wet on 
the road became doubly so in the 
grass ; and the men's feet brushing 
through it made a dreadful noise. 
We had 300 paces to go, and hardly 
any breath left to count them with ; 
so it was a relief to find them gone 
and the final spot reached. But 
here the difficulty of making night 
attacks was shown. The movement 
had been simple enough ; the points 
had been carefully laid down ; and 
everything seemed to have gone 
exactly as it ought. And yet 
here .we were, as it turned out, 
with our backs just where our faces 
should have been. Just as the line 
was extended, and the men were 
going to lie down, one of the officers 
came up and said that he was sure 
something had gone wrong, — that 
we were facing to our rear. 

** Impossible ! " I said. 

"Well, there is Slander's Kop 
staring us in the face." 

And so it was — just visible 
against the sky, its fiat top cutting 
the grey dawn unmistakably. An 



276 



Besieged in the Transvaal : 



[Aug. 



hour before we had left this behind, 
and now we were facing it. Never 
was any one more puzzled; worse 
— one felt almost hopelessly lost. 
There was little time for ddibera- 
tion, light was growing in the east, 
what had to be done must be done 
quickly. So I faced the men about, 
passing the word in whispers, and 
went straight to our rear for two 
hundred yards. Luckily the move 
was the right one, and we hit off 
the edge of the valley just where 
we wanted, the men still facing to 
their rear, now the front. 

The grass was almost up to our 
knees, and when the men lay down 
covered them entirely. Strict or- 
ders had been issued against raising 
the head ; firing was to be expected 
from our own men, and no one was 
to peep when it came. Great-coats 
were not allowed — they made us 
bigger marks for the enemy; we 
lay down just as we were in that 
cold sloppy grass, and tried to keep 
warm. 

What a weary wait it was ! I 
remember shivering quite audibly, 
and thinking that the men would 
hear me, and say I was funking it. 
One man began to snore, and was 
poked awake with a neighbour's 
ramrod. The rain had stopped, 
and the grey in the east began to 
show streaks of red ; but with the 
dawn came a bitter wind, and it 
grew colder still. 

Curiously enough, although lying 
in an ambush into which the enemy 
were at any minute expected to be 
drawn, the thought of it hardly 
crossed my mind ; all that was 
there was the wretched cold, and 
the longing for a dry change of 
clothes. 

Still the day crept on, the ob- 
jects around lost their indistinct- 
ness and happily showed that we 
were just in the right place. About 
a thousand yards to our right front 
was a solitary house occupied by 
the Dutch ; exactly in front the 



smoke from their laager rose; the 
slope between was vacant ; the ex- 
pected vedettes were not there. 
It was quite light enough for the 
mounted men to attack, but all was 
as still as death ; the sun would be 
up before there was a shot fired, 
and we wanted to begin and be off, 
— anything better than this horrible 
cold. 

But we waited on, and the sun 
rose, and the birds began to 
twitter, and still no sign. I be- 
gan to think something had mi8> 
carried, and that we might as well 
go home. Never was patience more 
tried. 

At length, not far from seven 
o'clock, when we had been four 
hours at it, a welcome shot rang 
out on our right, then a few more, 
answered faintly, followed by a 
volley waking up the sleeping 
scene; then more volleys crashing 
across the veldt, and startling the 
friends we were waiting for. I 
could see the hill over the laager 
black with figures running out to 
see what was up ; others were after 
their horses out grazing. A couple 
rode out first, crossing our front; 
then came more in threes and fours 
streaming across the slope, a party 
of a dozen heading towards oar 
right. .Straight on they came; I 
thought they would ride over us ; 
but the sly fellows stopped short 
of us by fifty yards, just hiding in 
the valley where they dismounted, 
and we could hear them jabbering 
in Dutch, "Wait here, and we 
shall catch them." This was in- 
deed ambush on ambush. 

Still the firing kept up briskly 
on our flank, the mounted men 
were making it hot for the Dutch 
in that direction, and they buzzed 
off towards it like wasps that have 
been poked up by a mischievous 
boy. 

My attention thus far had been 
taken up with what was going on 
upon the right ; I had hardly turned 



1881.] 



The Defence of Standerton, — Condvded, 



277 



my head since the fight hegan. It 
was lucky that eomething juat then 
made me look round. What met 
my eyes as I peered ovei the grass 
stalks was startling. A big Dutch* 
man on a horse, with his rifle ready, 
was walking slowly along our front, 
looking at us, but evidently not 
seeing us. He was a fine man with 
a thick, dark beard, a brown coat ; 
and he was also excellently mounted. 
Beyond him, in a patch of green, 
was a man on a grey horae, well 
known to us by sight as one of 
their most energetic generals, with 
some fifty mounted Boers behind 
him. Another instant and we 
should be discovered. 

Lifting my head the least bit I 
whispered in a voice delightfully 
stagey, to the men nearest me — 
" Look out men, point - blank, 
and straight in front — ready — 
when I shout, up on the knee and 
let them have it — ^Fire ! " 

The Dutchman saw me as I rose 
in the grass, he heard my voice 
shout out the order, and bending 
double over his horse's neck, rode 
for dear life. Crack went a dozen 
rifles after him, but he gallopped on 
unhurt, and in a few seconds reach- 
ed the valley in safety. The men, 
cold and numbed, fired wildly ; it 
was as much as they could manage 
to hold the rifles, and starting sud- 
denly from the grass they did not 
know what they were firing at. 
For many a day that Dutchman's 
face will haunt me : never was 
death more plainly written on any 
man's face than on his. 

All this took place in half a 
minute ; all the men were on the 
knee now, and firing steadily at the 
man on the grey horse and the men 
with him. Several loose horses 
were galloping away, their riders 
on the ground; our fire must 
have been deadly at the distance. 
Straight for us dashed the troop, 
the grey horse leading, and I 
thought they would try to charge 



us. But they rode for the valley, 
in which they were under cover, 
horses and men, and in a marvel- 
lously short space out of the long 
grass fringing it came a line of 
puffs of smoke, about a hundred 
yards in front of us — puffs, too, from 
the right, where our friends were in 
waiting to ** catch them." To all of 
which we replied promptly, aiming 
at the puffs as they blew off, put- 
ting them out, sometimes shifting 
them a little as it got too hot be- 
hind them; bullets whizzing fast 
all round, and no one hit as yet. 
Their laager was now saddled up, 
and a great cloud of men were col- 
lecting in support of their advanced 
parties. We had done what we 
came out for, and had caught them 
fairly. Nothing else remained but 
to get the men safely away before 
they could bring their whole force 
against us. 

So one-half of the men retired 
skirmishing, the other half remain- 
ing on the knee facing the Dutch, 
and keeping down their fire, till 
the first line had gone back a little 
way, when they in turn took up 
the fire and the front line fell 
back. 

It was really a pretty sight : the 
sun's rays slanting across the grass, 
glistening with raindrops ; the red 
coats, — many in wideawakes, which 
showed less in work like this than 
the helmets, — walking along as 
steadily as on the parade ground, 
dropping on the knee and sending 
out a sharp crack ; the puffs of 
smoke all rouDd and very general, 
hanging heavy in the damp air; 
one young officer with his cap off 
made the picture look quite like a 
battle-piece. A fat-faced boy in the 
Ordnance Department, out without 
leave, I fancy, stuck close to me 
and fired most steadily, his stolid 
face looking into mine for orders, 
adjusting his sight to the distance 
I gave him, taking deliberate aim, 
and after firing watching where the 



278 



Besieged in the Transvaal : 



[Aug. 



bullet hit, as cool aud as fat as if it 
were all greens and bacon. 

Another thing that forced itself 
upon one was the noisy way in 
which bullets, fired at you, do their 
work. They are so spiteful, even 
when they hit the ground, sound- 
ing like a boy's cheek when he gets 
a good sound box on the ear — ^they 
dig into it as if trying which can 
get in the deepest, and fling up 
clouds of dust as if in scorn of the 
fellow just before them. Those in 
the air are always in such a hurry, 
they can't stop a second, but buzz, 
and scream, and vanish singing in 
the distance. Those that hit men 
do it quietly as if ashamed ; a poor 
fellow lies on the grass writhing, 
and you know that a bullet has 
done it, that is alL 

We had kept up this game for 
about twenty minutes, sometimes 
retiring, halting now and then to 
shut up their fire, when we heard 
firing on our left, and some bullets 
came in hastily, crossing the others, 
and making the men fire at this 
new attack. 

"Don't fire," I shouted; "they 
are our own men." I had put a 
party on this very hill, expecting 
the enemy might bother us from 
it. 

" No, sir, they's Boers," replied 
the fat-faced one; and as he spoke 
down fell a man beside me, the 
first one hit. 

It was a^bit nasty. That they 
were Boers was now plain; how 
they got there was a mystery. I 
could see about twenty-five of them 
blazing away, the bullets hitting 
all about us. So we faced round 
and went at the place. Four hun- 
dred yards I gave as the distance, 
and it was just the thing. The 
Dutch are capital shots at buck, 
but let the animal have a rifie and 
know how to use it, and they will 
go without venison for that day. 

Their fire slackened before we had 
gone a hundred yards, the Boers 



skulking under stones. Then they 
came out, collecting in a group, fir- 
ing hardly at all, almost stupefied 
as it seemed. Then after a minute 
or more they ran behind the koppie 
where their horses were, and rode 
away. Several pools of blood upon 
the koppie told us a little later of 
the cause of their stupidity. 

This was the last of it, bullets 
from long ranges dropped about, 
and we counted about 600 horse- 
men on the hill which we had left. 
These had collected within the 
hour from their posts many miles 
apart, thus showing what excellent 
organisation they possessed. I drew 
off the men, the wounded man re- 
fusing to be carried — he was shot 
through the arm — and the whole 
laughing and telling their own 
stories until we got under cover of 
the fire of one of the forts, the one 
we had passed in the dark, its gar- 
rison on tip- toe on the parapet get- 
ting what view they could of our 
battle. A quick walk home to the 
fort, a cup of coffee, and a change 
of clothes left us none the worse 
for our outing, wet and dismal as 
it had been. 

This skirmish taught the Dutch 
a lesson — it sent them back ano- 
ther mile, made them respect our 
vedettes, and mistrust every patch 
of grass that grew. When we met 
them on the proclamation of peace, 
they admitted that we had knocked 
over eleven of their own men ; but, 
as I said to the man on the grey 
horse, "we did not get you." 

" No, meinheer; but I tried very 
hard for you." A pleasant bit of 
rejoinder, showing that even war- 
fare has its amenities. 

One fine day we saw two fine bul- 
locks strolling towards the " drift," 
followed by a lot of Boers at a dis- 
tance; but these notdaring to come 
within range, we soon had the plea- 
sure of seeing a party of our own 
men cross the river, and drive them 
in as spoils of war. Excellent beef 



1881.] 



The Defence of Standerton, — Conclvded. 



279 



they made, the marks on them be- 
ing those of a noted rebel who was 
known to be shooting at us. 

A frequent cause of suspicion 
was the display of lights at night 
in the town. All lights had to be 
out when the bugle sounded ^'lights 
out;" but there were lights that con- 
tinually defied orders, and, as it 
sometimes seemed, were answered 
by others on the hills round, though 
these turned out more than once to 
be only a setting star magnified in 
the sentry's imagination into a sig- 
nal light. That traitors were in our 
midst I think was undoubted, but 
they kept so quiet that we never 
discovered one. We occasionally 
sent out after these same lights, 
only once catching the ofiender in 
the act, when with all due caution 
a party crept down towards one 
that flashed distinctly enough, to 
put all doubt out of the question. 
Without the slightest noise they 
stole along, over walls and ditches, 
the tell-tale light always in front, 
till they could see that it came 
from a house in the very centre of 
the town ; the ground was more 
level, and they quickened their 
pace, and ran it to earth at last, 
to find the ''signal light" came 
through a loop-hole in the court- 
house, on the other side of which 
the gallant captain who defended 
it lay reading in bed. 

Another night I was roused out 
to look at some rockets thrown up 
by the relieving column. Excite- 
ment was intense. Cries of " There 
they go ! " " There's another !" were 
heard all round, — with remarks of 
the good things in store to-morrow 
for the poor hungry fellows. The 
rockets were only a star rising, but 
all day I was beset by the towns- 
people with questions about the 
column, and the news the rockets 
had sent in. 

Heavy rain set in towards the end 
of February, making sad breaches 
in our walls, and giving us plenty 



of work at putting them up again. 
One particularly rainy morning the 
mist cleared for a little, and our 
vedette found himself close to a 
Kafir who was trudging along the 
road towards town. On being 
questioned he showed a Dutch 
pass, and a letter which he was 
taking to his master in the main 
laager, and on being told that he 
was going all right, followed the 
volunteer quite unsuspecting. Soon, 
however, a mounted infantry man 
wearing a red coat rode up, and the 
Kafir discovered his mistake with a 
loud yell, thinking that instant death 
would be his lot. On seeing the 
houses of Standerton he was fairly 
aghast, the Boers having told him 
that it was destroyed, and all the 
English killed. As a specimen of 
Dutch letter - writing the note is 
worth copying : — 

"Loving Husband, — We are all 
quite well, for which we cannot thank 
the Lord enough, and hope to hear the 
same from my loving husband; and 
if it is otherwise with you, it would 

frieve me exceedingly much, loving 
usband. I have no news to write you, 
only that I long very much, my loving 
husband, to see you. Sammie can 
walk already, and the children long 
very much for their papa. Dear, I 
send you tobacco and one loaf of bread. 
Dear, everything is all right, and papa 
sends you a man. Dear, I wish you 
God's blessing and health. Now I 
shall close with the pen, but never with 
the heart. Farewell, from your loving 
wife and children." 

And these were the people who 
day and night tried to kill us. 

Amongst the garrison was a 
colour-sergeant, somewhat of a fire- 
eater. Ilis animosity against the 
Dutch was intense, and he longed 
to do something to satisfy it. His 
wrath was directed principally 
against Stander's Kop — it was his 
company which held it in check. 
For many a day they had endured 
the taunts of the Dutch upon it. 
Several times he hinted to me that 



280 



Besieged in tJie Transvaal : 



[Aug. 



its captnre was easy, and that he 
was leady to go at it; but the 
scheme did not suit me, and so 
dropped. He was a teetotaller, 
but one day he indulged in a few 
glasses, and they took effect, as 
was natural after long abstinence. 
In the canteen that evening the 
conversation got on the everlasting 
subject of Stander's Kop, and some 
commissariat men being present, 
one of these declared himself ready 
to take it with ten men. This put . 
the sergeant's back up, and he 
replied that he would do it with 
only five, leaving shortly afterwards. 
He went straight to his hut, called 
for five volunteers, not saying what 
for, and set out with them about 
9 o'clock in the direction of the 
Kop. Two hours after this I was 
roused by a man with a message 
from him. He was close up to the 
top of the hill, and wanted rein- 
forcements. A party was sent out 
with an officer to bring him back, 
but they retired at daylight, not hav- 
ing found any trace of them, and I 
feared that he must have fallen into 
the hands of the Dutch. Shortly 
after daylight, however, we heard 
a volley, followed by an undoubted 
cheer from the top of the hiU, then 
a couple more volleys, and all was 
still. The truth now became ap- 
parent : he had climbed into the 
" sconce " the Boers occupied, find- 
ing it empty, and lying there 
through the night till they came 
up for the day, when he greeted 
them with a volley. 

It was an awkward position. 
They were sure to come up in 
strength — it was their principal 
position, and they would do any- 
thing rather than lose it ; yet there 
were our five men on the top, more 
than a mile from camp. I got out 
all the men and sent them skirmish- 
ing towards the hill, with orders to 
open fire if the enemy appeared, 
and bring the men in under its 
cover. 



And appear they did, riding up 
cautiously along the top with about 
fifty, another lot of the same 
strength showing round the base to 
cut us off that way, the whole firing 
at us down below in the open ; and 
very hot it was, our men replying 
with a wilL We could see the 
tiny group of our men scrambling 
down the rocks to the garden- wall 
spoken of before, under which they 
lay hid till our skirmishers, coming 
on, kept up so hot a fire that they 
were able to come out and rejoin 
them unhurt, though fired at inces- 
santly. 

Their story was what we ex- 
pected. Once in the little " sconce," 
they lay down waiting for the 
Dutch, receiving the twenty odd 
men that came up with a volley 
which knocked over three, the rest 
bolting as hard as they could at the 
unwelcome surprise. The hero of 
this exploit was rather astonished 
to find that he had done wrong ; it 
seemed only a necessary feature of 
the siege to take the Kop, and to 
be put under arrest for doing his 
duty was not what he had calculated 
on. However, the General in the 
end released him, with a caution 
not to take Kops again on his own 
responsibility. 

We had our jokes, bullets or no 
bullets, — stale, probably, but always 
fresh among us besieged ones. A 
never-failing one was the habitual 
fear of the Dutch which seized us 
all about noon every day — so terri- 
ble, indeed, that wer became weak 
and prostrated — and only saved our- 
selves from sending out a white flag 
with an offer of surrender by turn- 
ing into the mess-shed and taking 
a glass of "square-face" all round. 
And this joke went on every day 
for three months. 

Our only playmates were two 
cats, each named by the men, as is 
usual, from their place of abode. 
One, a tabby, was the "laager cat;" 
the other, a tortoise-shell, the "hut- 



1881.] 



The Defence of Standerton. — Concluded, 



281 



cat ; " and the latter was tlie strang- 
est of her kind. She preferred to 
lie in the wet grass to a blanket ; 
folloj^ed the men about like a dog ; 
slept in a loop-hole in the advanced 
work, and was never known to 
purr. Her society was not agree- 
able to the " laager cat," who lived 
in the mess; quarrels, with much 
spitting and swearing, were the con- 
sequence of a visit : our cat was 
an officers' cat, and would not mix 
with a soldiers' cat. Rations formed 
the only exception, and then both 
sat on mealie bags, facing one 
another, and chewed away at huge 
chunks of raw beef. 

We had also many dogs, all curs 
of a genus which appears only in 
South Africa. A wonderful mixture 
of every dog, known and unknown, 
used generally to run down wound- 
ed buck, or to hunt up partridges 
or other game. To all dogs the term 
"footsack" is familiar, always an- 
ticipated, invariably obeyed. It 
means in Dutch " be off ; " and 
according to the tone in which 
it is uttered, so does the dog 
obey. Used conversationally, he 
slinks off with his tail between 
his legs; authoritatively, and he 
runs, looking behind him fearfully ; 
savagely, and he is gone with a yell 
before the accompanying stone can 
reach him. 

Our pack was no exception to 
the rule. There were pointers, 
greyhounds, setters, mastiffs, deer- 
hounds, bull - dogs, and even a 
poodle. This was a small black 
cur which a soldier had shaved into 
a sham poodle : his head was like a 
weak-minded lion, each foot carried 
a boss of hair, and his tail ended in 
a black tuft, and in this the charac- 
ter of the animal came out. iSTever 
was a row between the other curs 
but the poodle made for it hot- 
footed, yelping vigorously, his tail 
revolving like the screw of a steam- 
boat as if to give him fresh impetus. 
Once at the row he joined in with 



a will, till his turn coming, he was 
seen flying before the pack, his tail 
still going round with redoubled 
energy. Poor poodle ! as his hair 
grew and the exigencies of the siege 
prevented his master from reshav- 
ing him, he gradually pined, his 
spirits left him, and his tail hung 
limp and tuftless, in readiness for 
the all -dreaded "footsack." The 
dogs not being allowed in the fort, 
were exposed to the incessant fire, 
and three of them were wounded, 
showing the shower of bullets un- 
der which we lived ; but all, strange 
to say, recovered. 

After the siege the officers put 
their dogs into a scratch pack to 
hunt possible hares — each owner 
riding to the meet with his whip- 
thong tied round his dog's neck, 
who dragged behind in danger of 
strangulation. Once a hare was 
found, and the whole started in 
pursuit, the master crying out in 
agony, — " For goodness sake, gen- 
tlemen, don't crack your whips, 
or they'll all run home." 

On February 28th there was con- 
siderable anxiety among the Boers, 
their vedettes stretching across the 
^Newcastle road for miles. We 
thought it must be on account of 
news of the column, and so it was, 
but not of the kind we were look- 
ing for. The day before had taken 
place the defeat of the Amajuba ; 
perhaps it was as well that we did 
not know of it. 

On March 7th we repulsed a 
determined attack from the south, 
the Boers occupying a long hill 
1000 yards from our advanced 
works, and firing furiously for two 
hours. So galling was their fire 
that I put all the men under cover, 
and let the enemy blaze away, rein- 
forcing the works facing them with 
difficulty, — the 58th running into 
them under a hail of lead, and then 
gradually driving them off. I always 
dreaded that they would occupy that 
position, as it completely enfiladed 



282 



Besieged in the Transvaal : 



[Ang. 



the fort, and it was quite impossi- 
ble to toke it without heavy loss, 
owing to its steepness, and the 
fact that Stander's Kop commanded 
it. The cause of the attack was 
to secure a punt which had been 
cut away from Standerton before 
the siege, and had floated down 
during the floods to the Boer lines. 
They had got it afloat on the previ- 
ous night, but could not get it far 
enough away before daylight, when 
we opened Are on them, making 
them let it go again, when it floated 
down the river and was of no further 
use to them. 

The end was now drawing near. 

On the 11th March we saw a 
number of waggons coming along 
the Newcastle road, nearer to us 
than was customary, till they turn- 
ed off and were hidden in a valley 
under the Dutch position, barely 
1500 yards from our fort. It 
looked nasty, and the general im- 
pression was that a fresh laager 
was being formed for the final 
attack, which we knew would cer- 
tainly precede the column. The 
Dutch began to show on the kop- 
pie opposite, looking out and tak- 
ing in our position. . Stander's Kop 
was crowded; they hardly seemed 
to care for our shots, which, accord- 
ing to custom, we fired now and 
then to make them keep in ; they 
bobbed and then came out again. 
On the koppie across the river, 
where their strongest laager was, 
they were swarming, some coming 
down to pick up lead in the shape 
of our bullets. So, as it was getting 
too much of a good thing, I told the 
sergeant in charge of the marks- 
men on the roof of our shed to fire 
a shot, and to our delight a Boer 
dropped and was carried in by two 
of his comrades, evidently badly hit. 
It was the last shot of the siege. 
Hardly had we knocked the man 
over when two Boers rode out of 
the koppie heading towards the 
town "drift," and, to our horror, 



carrying high over their heads a 
big white flag. 

The Boers now covered the hill, 
on horses and without, sitting about 
on the stone parapets they had been 
firing fromj they seemed to know 
that the flag made them safe. 

Still on came the flag. It was a 
bad quarter of an hour. The men 
stood about with eyes wide open 
till I sent them to their posts to get 
rid of them. It could only be one 
thing. The column was beaten, 
and this was a demand to surrender, 
now further resistance was useless. 
Every one of us thought so, but 
no one spoke his thoughts. In all 
the three months, that was the 
worst time we had. 

Determined to be ready for any 
stratagem, I occupied all our forts, 
crowded the men into the defences 
at the drift, and lined the koppie 
above it, till, when the Boers came 
down, at least one hundred rifles 
were pointing at them unseen. 

They were met by an officer sent 
down, and held up a letter, the 
fatal summons ; and a native was 
sent across swimming — the river 
was too high to ford — and brought 
it up to the fort. I never loathed 
a letter so much in my life, and did 
not open it altogether as eagerly as 
a man who has not had one for 
three months might do. Our fears, 
as it turned out, were groundless \ 
the letter containing a note from 
the Dutch general before me, writ- 
ten on a scrap of paper lined for 
accounts, a copy of the first armis- 
tice, and a private note from the 
officer who had brought the sup- 
plies. "We did not want the armis- 
tice a bit, and in my reply I told 
the Dutchman as much. They 
wanted me to send over for the 
provisions, and to tell them if I 
had any wounded whom I wished 
to send away. I said as long as 
they did not come an inch nearer 
the town than they were now I 
would not fire on them; that if 



1881.] 



The Defence of Standerton. — Concluded, 



283 



they sent the provisions to me I 
-would receive them; and that if 
the officer came personally to me, I 
would tell him what I chose ahout 
my wounded, if I had any; and 
with this answer the flag went 
back, and we heard no more of it 
that day. 

Bat in the town consternation 
reigned, and bets were made that 
we were the victims of a hoax. The 
most awfol things were predicted, 
and I was looked upon as a poor 
fool, so I heard afterwards. Yet 
when morning came four waggons 
were seen " trekking " towards the 
" drift," with ten Boers, unarmed, as 
I had said I would permit, follow- 
ing; and in rear of all the officer 
of our own regiment. The towns- 
people paid up their bets and said 
no more ; the waggons came down 
to a place I pointed out, and com- 
menced to "ojff-load," — the officer 
asking that I might be sent for, as 
he had the Boer generaVs permis- 
sion to talk to me. So down I 
rode, and stood on the river's bank 
opposite to him, the Boer guard 
staring curiously at the man they 
had been trying to shoot for the 
last three months in vain. It 
was a pretty sight. The Vaal be- 
tween us, rolling fast and deep; 
the Boers long-haired and dirty, 
squatting round and watching 
every movement ; and myself, with 
another officer, and a mounted 
orderly with his carbine on his 
thigh, upon the other. "What 
questions rose to our lips but died 
again 1 How we longed to hear if 
there was a column, where it was, 
and what were the troops that 
formed it? "We knew nothing, 
absolutely nothing. One word let 
drop told us of the death of the 
General — ^bad news that sent a thrill 
through all of us ; a bare suspicion 
that we had been defeated down 
below came across our minds. It 
was hardly a pleasant meeting. 

Again a native swam across and 



brought back the papers signed. 
We saw the Dutch questioning him, 
and found afterwards that he had 
humbugged them. 

"Are they dying of starvation? 
Have not we killed a loti We 
never see them out, so we know 
they are dead. We know that we 

shot young G that day you 

came out, and his body lies up 
behind there." Just then young 

G himself came down to me 

with a message, and the Boers 
looked like fools. To all their 
queries the native said yes. 

The Boer spokesman shouted 
that they had no liquor, so we sent 
him across a bottle of whisky, 
when the crew gave a weak cheer, 
and said they would drink Mein- 
heer's health. The officer asked if 
we could spare him some stores, 
and we sent him some tins of beef 
and milk and jam, and half a dozen 
"square-face; " it was nearly the last 
we had, and the Dutchmen stared : 
starving men to have so many 
things to spare — something was 
not quite right here. 

Before the relief we had made 
a punt by lashing eight barrels to- 
gether with telegraph wire, and 
putting a platform on them; and 
this came in handy now, for 
though we did not tell the Boers, 
we wanted provisions badly. The 
next day we had a bite of brecwi, 
and very nice it was. 

There was a history about that 
punt. A few days before the relief, 
the river rose in flood about twenty 
feet, and down went our poor punt 
till it stuck under the hill which the 
Dutch held, only a few hundred 
yards from it. Fortunately the bank 
was high, and it rested on the slope 
where they could not see it, while 
our fire kept them from coming 
down. But we wanted it badly ; and 
so a dozen men who could swim 
were made ,to get across some dis- 
tance higher up, and sneak down 
under the bank to where it lay. 



284 



Besieged in the Transvaal : 



[Aug. 



We chose a foggy evening, through 
which we could see the Boer 
" sconces," with their sentries mov- 
ing ahout, dimly. It was touchy 
work — twelve naked men on their 
side, a raging torrent hetween them 
and us, while I stood on this hank 
directing them. One man might 
pass unnoticed, more and they 
would open fire, and the punt 
would be lost. So the naked men 
worked hard, making no noise, till 
they got the punt into the water 
and hauled it up stream for a mile, 
until it was in our own water, and 
was safe. It took all that evening 
long after dark, and we rewarded 
the willing fellows with a "tot" 
apiece of Cape rum, which they 
thought ample reward. Four hours 
nakedness, with the enemy close at 
hand ready to kill you at the slight- 
est sound, all for a glass of rum ! 

Throughout the siege we had 
given a girl's name for the counter- 
sign. The men liked it. Every 
night some of them felt that the 
garrison was watched over by her 
he loved best, and it came to be 
the evening's topic with them who 
she was to be when the orders 
were read out. It put us about a 
little to find names, but we did it, 
only standing out against Jemima, 
and published a fresh name every 
night. The first name we hit upon 
was Alice. Many of us had an 
Alice we loved at home, so we put 
her in the front rank. Later on, 
when the fort was clean enough, 
we christened it after her, and 
Fort Alice is now the official title 
of the fort which held Standerton. 

Many were the discussions the 
men had over these names. Violet 
was one, and I remember hearing 
an obstinate fellow silenced, on ob- 
jecting that it was a fiower, not a 
" gal," by a comrade, who explained 
that " Violet is the flower, we all 
know that, but a girl's called Vio- 
lette, with an Jie." Another time, 
when the password was Mag, the 



following conversation took place 
ontside the fort between a sentry 
and a late comer : — 

Sentry, " Who comes there ? " 
Late-comer. " Friend." 
Sentry, "Stand, friend. Advance 
one, and give the countersign." 
Late-comer, **I don't know it." 
Sentry. " Why, it's Mag ! " 
Late-comer. ** Oh, Mag." 
Sentry. " Pass, Mag, all's well." 
The outcome of the news of the 
armistice would have perplexed the 
Dutch not a little. It was an order 
saying that it must have been ar- 
ranged by the General to gain time 
to bring up his troops, and that we 
must in consequence be prepared to 
last another month at least. As it 
was issued in perfect good faith, it 
is worth copying here. 

" Standerton, March 23, 1881. 

" From information received it ap- 
pears that the column under Sir G. 
Colley was engaged with the enemv at 
the Ingogo river about the end of last 
month, and has remained some six 
miles in advance of that river in posi* 
tion ; General Wood, in command on 
the death of Sir G. Colley, probablv 
thinking it desirable to wait until fresh 
troops arrive before attacking the 
strong position the rebels hold on the 
top of the Drakensberg Range. 

"The reinforcements are now on 
their way out from England, and a 
further column is at Newcastle ; but 
as the final advance may not take 
place until the arrival of the reinforce- 
ments, it will be safer not to anticipate 
any relief until the end of April at the 
earliest. Up to that date supplies on 
the present scale have been calculated ; 
our forts are completed ; ammunition 
is ample ; and the health of the gar- 
ri:3on and town is excellent. 

"Under these circumstances the 
commanding officer trusts to meet 
with the same cheerfulness and prompt- 
itude in carrying out his orders as has 
been hitherto the case ; in all ranks, 
military and civil, he has great pleas- 
ure in saying that he has found every 
one bearing the irksomeness and te- 
dium of the long confinement without 
a murmur. 

"The store-keepers have lent him 



1881.] 



The Defence of Standerton. — Concluded, 



285 



their aid in preserving discipline and 
acting strictly up to his injunctions as 
to the sale of liquor, and he has full 
confidence in their continuing to act 
as they already have done to the end. 
In conclusion, he must add that as the 
weariness increases, a certain amount 
of slackness is apt to creep in, and he 
wishes to remina every one under his 
command that he will continue to en- 
force the strictest attention to disci- 
pline and obedience, and will not hesi- 
tate to check any deviation therefrom 
-with the utmost severity permissible 
by military law." 

The armistice would finish on 
Wednesday night at twelve, and in 
the forenoon of that day we made 
extra preparations to meet an at- 
tack at the hour when it closed, 
anticipating an attempt at surprise. 
Eat about noon out came another 
flag of truce, with a letter, which told 
UB of the renewal of the armistice. 
Shortly after arrived a second re- 
lieving officer with more provisions, 
all which we treated as we had done 
the first. On the fourth day of the 
second armistice a third flag came 
down, requesting me to meet the 
Boer general, which I agreed to, 
and went out to a spot out of sight 
of our defences to meet him. 

I was accompanied by my orderly 
officer, and bugler, — the Dutch party 
consisting of a very fat and very 
dirty man, of some five feet, any 
way you measured him, introduced 
as General Otto; Mr Cronje, the 
man on the grey horse I had tried 
to shoot ; a thin fellow, Van Buck- 
stroom, the interpreter; and an old, 
frowsy-looking thing who carried 
the flag. They brought a letter, 
also on a scrap of account-paper, 
from Joubert, saying peace had 
been made. This they read out 
to me, saying at once, without 
waiting for me to Answer, " Of 
course you don't believe it, but we 
wish to tell you what we know." 

To which I replied that I could 
only act on an order from my own 
general, but would consent to allow 



matters to go on as they had done, 
and not fire so long as they did not 
come near. This satisfied them, 
and we parted. 

Early on the morning of 26th 
March, I was roused by the news 
that the Dutch were crowding 
down to the " drift." We went up 
to the hill above it, and saw about 
two hundred of them, with their 
waggons inspanning, evidently about 
to cross. A few indeed had come 
down to the .river and crossed 
while I was looking. They were 
all unarmed. I saw that it was as 
had been said ; peace was pro- 
claimed, and these were the Boers 
going home. 

But I wished to show them that 
it was not yet all their own way ; 
at least Standerton was stUl an 
English town which they had not 
been able to take from us ; so the 
mounted troop rode off to the "drift," 
and drew up across the road with 
their carbines ready. The men 
occupied their places in the de- 
fences facing the river; and the 
Boers were sent back much quicker 
than they had come. The whole 
crowd of them then squatted on 
the further bank in sulky silence. 
Their oxen were outspanned, and 
they evidently made up their minds 
to stop there all day. 

At eight A.M., the officers bear- 
ing the official message from Sir